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Tulare board votes 5-0 to lease hospital to Adventist Health Tulare board votes 5-0 to lease hospital to Adventist Health

Community Partnerships

Aug. 2, 2018 (Tulare CA) – Tulare came one step closer to reopening its hospital on Wednesday, when board members of the Tulare Local Healthcare District (TLHD) voted 5-0 on to lease the facility to Adventist Health, which operates 20 hospitals and more than 250 medical offices in 80 communities on the West Coast and in Hawaii.
The vote opens the door to a credit line of up to $10 million from Adventist Health to help the district reopen the 112-bed hospital in mid to late October, pending approval by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH). Because the lease covers significant assets, district voters will be asked to approve the agreement through a measure on the Nov. 6 ballot. 
“After our struggles to reopen, Adventist Health is a godsend, and an answer to so many community prayers,” said District Board President Kevin Northcraft. “In 10 years, when we look back on 2018, I am confident we will be very happy that we made the right choice. Adventist Health will provide caring and quality hospital facilities for decades to come.”
Andrea Kofl, president of Adventist Health hospitals in Hanford, Reedley and Selma as well as other Valley services, said she and other leaders are grateful for the board’s support and the warm welcome they’ve received in Tulare. “The board, physicians, staff, Citizens for Hospital Accountability and many others have worked tirelessly to create a new future for this hospital,” she said. “We’re inspired by your passion for excellence and honored to join you in caring for the Tulare community.” 
Kofl appointed Randy Dodd, vice president of Adventist Health services in the Central Valley, as the interim executive of Adventist Health Tulare to lead and support the transition. “Tulare hospital and Adventist Health team members have spent countless hours working on every aspect of the requirements to reopen the hospital and ensure safe, high-quality care. That includes staffing plans, policies, processes, contract review, regulatory review, equipment tests and facilities and IT work, among many other projects,” Dodd said. “The approval of the Adventist Health and district boards allows us now to activate the reopening plans as quickly as possible for our community.”
The agreements call for Adventist Health to manage the hospital as Tulare Regional Medical Center under the district board until the lease takes effect on Jan. 1, 2019. At that time, Adventist Health would lease the acute care hospital and other facilities for a period of five years, with five additional five-year renewals, for as long as 30 years, operating independently of the district. An independent fair market analysis will be used to determine lease payments and the purchase price of furniture and equipment. Failure to operate as an acute care hospital would result in a lease default, opening the door for the district to resume control.
Northcraft emphasized that voter approval of the lease agreement is critical to reopening the hospital and keeping it open. “We deeply appreciate all of the incredible work that has brought us to this point. If we stop short and don’t get the win at the ballot box, we won’t have enough revenue to sustain services after the hospital reopens. We need a Yes vote on November 6.”
The hospital closed in October 2017 when the Tulare hospital district board voluntarily suspended its acute care license after declaring bankruptcy. That suspension ends this October, although officials indicated it is possible to extend the suspension if needed.

PHOTO: Tulare physician input is critical to the success of the transition and the hospital. Adventist Health has formed a physician steering committee to connect with Tulare physicians and help guide the transition. Five physicians were among more than a dozen Adventist Health team members who attended the board meeting on Wednesday. Physicians were, from left: Surgeon Satish Kesavaramanujam, MD; cardiologist and Chief Medical Officer Frank Gavini, MD; internist and inpatient services leader Gurvinder Kaur, MD; family medicine physician and Adventist Health Plan Medical Director John Zweifler, MD; and pulmologist and intensivist Vishnu Bezwadha, MD. 


About Adventist Health
Adventist Health is a faith-based, nonprofit integrated health system serving more than 80 communities on the West Coast and Hawaii. Founded on Seventh-day Adventist heritage and values, Adventist Health provides care in hospitals, clinics, home care agencies, hospice agencies and joint-venture retirement centers in both rural and urban communities. Our compassionate and talented team of 35,000 includes associates, medical staff physicians, allied health professionals and volunteers driven in pursuit of one mission: living God's love by inspiring health, wholeness and hope. Together, we are transforming the American healthcare experience with an innovative, yet timeless, whole-person focus on physical, mental, spiritual and social healing.