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Valley Hospitals Eye Expansion, Reopening, Bankruptcy

Jeffrey Hess/KVPR
Tulare Regional Medical Center (file photo)

Local hospitals in three San Joaquin Valley communities are making big plans for the future, including an expansion, a reopening, and a bankruptcy filing.

In Kern County, Adventist Health has announced plans to build a new hospital in Northwest Bakersfield. The facility will be built near the intersection of Coffee and Brimhall Road, adjacent to the development known as the Bakersfield Commons. It’s unknown when construction on the new facility might begin. Adventist Health currently operates a hospital in downtown Bakersfield on Chester Avenue.

In Tulare, voters will be asked in the November general election to approve a 30 year lease between the Tulare Local Healthcare District and Adventist Health. The company has plans to reopen the shuttered Tulare Regional Medical Center on October 15th. Adventist has also agreed to offer the district a $10 million line of credit to make improvements and repairs to the hospital campus. If voters approve the lease, the line of credit will be repaid through future rent payments by Adventist, and the value of the equipment and furnishings of the hospital purchased by Adventist.

According to TLHD board member Kevin Northcraft, if voters reject the ballot measure, Adventist would close the hospital and end its local obligations by November 30th. The hospital has been closed since October of 2017, after the board and previous hospital operator HCCA became locked in a legal and financial dispute that resulted in the district seeking Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection.

In Fresno County, the board of the Coalinga Regional Medical Center has filed for bankruptcy protection. According to court documents, the public hospital owes its top 20 creditors nearly $3 million. The hospital closed its doors in June following financial trouble. Chapter 9 is a section of the bankruptcy code that allows public agencies to restructure their organizations. 

Joe Moore is the President and General Manager of KVPR / Valley Public Radio. He has led the station through major programming changes, the launch of KVPR Classical and the COVID-19 pandemic. Under his leadership the station was named California Non-Profit of the Year by Senator Melissa Hurtado (2019), and won a National Edward R. Murrow Award for investigative reporting (2022).