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It took less than $10M to open Tulare hospital


Tulare hospital’s financial situation may not be rosy, but the district’s financial standing is slowly going from red to black.

Randy Dodd, hospital president, said Tulare Regional Medical Center, on average, is receiving 67 emergency room visits a day and nearly 10 patients are admitted each day.

While it will take time to build back the trust, the transition is going smoothly, officials said.

“The hospital is doing very well,” Dodd said.

After nearly a year closed, TRMC, under Adventist Health administration, opened on Oct. 15.

Patients have responded well.

Dodd said he received a call from a recent patient. She reported she received the best health care during her visit to the hospital.

“That felt great,” he said.

The hospital has extended privileges to more than 100 providers, beefing up nurses and support staff, Dodd said.

“Providers who used to work in Tulare are coming back and seeking credentials from us,” he said. “That’s really encouraging.”

The added support will help hospital officials bring back services.

Early next year, TRMC will offer OB services, a frequent request from residents who have been forced to Visalia or Porterville.

“It takes time to get all those things lined up,” he said. “[We are] restoring services that were there before.”

Dan Heckathorne and Larry Blitz during Monday’s board meeting

Tulare hospital interim administrators Dan Heckathorne, left, and Larry Blitz during Monday’s board meeting. (Photo: Luis Hernandez)


Dan Heckathorne, the district’s chief financial officer, reported $9.5 million was used to get the hospital opened. Initially, Adventist Health had fronted a $10 million loan to help open the hospital.

“We are happy to say we made it,” he said.

The district has $2 million in cash.

Heckathorne said he expects the district will avoid borrowing from the foundation thanks to the slowly growing cash on hand.

District administrators are also working on completing audits for the last two fiscal years.

A draft report is expected next month.

Kevin Northcraft, hospital board president, said he planned to respond to state auditors.

The responses ask for board members to develop policies related to controlling the district’s contracts and money, Northcraft said. Additional responses are related to the opening of the hospital.

“Those are no longer valid,” he said.

Northcraft, who was picked as the Tulare Chamber of Commerce Man of the Year, said community members who voted yes to allow Adventist to manage the hospital are seeing the results already.

“(The community) has been rewarded with an open hospital,” he said. “It’s easy to forget how far we have come.”

Kevin Northcraft

Kevin Northcraft, Tulare Hospital Board president. (Photo: Luis Hernandez)