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Tulare City Council votes to support Measure H, TRMC

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Tulare City Council will back Measure H, the effort to turn the city’s hospital over to Adventist Health.

Next, voters in November will be asked to approve the lease agreement between the Tulare hospital board and Adventist Health.

Council members cited the need for a hospital, importance of a local health provider for economic development and reduction of time in responding to emergency calls as reasons to support Measure H.

“It’s important this hospital is open,” Tulare Mayor David Macedo said. “Having this hospital is crucial.”

Already, Macedo signed the petition to get Measure H on the ballot. He said he signed as an individual, leaving it up to other council members to decide on their stance.

Macedo said he will continue to support the hospital board’s effort to get Tulare Regional Medical Center open.

“I will sign whatever you want me to sign,” he said.

Council’s support for Measure H came after a brief presentation from hospital board members Steve Harrell and Xavier Avila.

Xavier Avila, Tulare hospital board member, talks with supporters

Xavier Avila, Tulare hospital board member, talks with supporters after council approved support of Measure H. (Photo: Luis Hernandez


A defeat in the November election will be catastrophic, Avila said.

“Measure H needs to pass,” he said. “If it doesn’t, the hospital will close down in a month.”

The hospital has been closed since October. The board hopes it will open by mid-October. Currently, the board lacks the finances or savvy to run a hospital, Avila said.

“We don’t have $20, $30 million to open the hospital,” he said. “We don’t have the expertise to do it.”

Already, 100 employees completed orientation in preparation for the opening. Adventist Health administrators said as many as 150 more employees are expected to complete their work orientation next week.

At the same time, interim hospital administrators and Adventist Health staff are working on a list of projects to get the hospital ready.

Many former hospital employees will be hired, said Christine Roche Pickering, regional communication manager for Adventist Health.

Tulare hospital supporters gathered at the Council Chambers

Tulare hospital supporters gathered at the Council Chambers after Measure H received support from council on Tuesday night. (Photo: Luis Hernandez)

 

Tulare hospital supporters gathered at the Council Chambers after Measure H received support from council on Tuesday night. (Photo: Luis Hernandez)

When the Tulare hospital opens, services offered will include the emergency department, medical/surgical nursing, intensive care, emergency surgery, anesthesia, pharmacy, nutritional services, medical imaging, and lab — all needed to be considered an acute care hospital.

Councilman Greg Nunley said he was pleased with the hospital board’s work and residents will benefit from the effort to get TRMC open.

“I am extremely delighted,” he said. “People in this community will get health care like they haven’t seen it before.”

Ed Henry shaking hands with Dan Heckathorne

Ed Henry, left, shakes hands with Dan Heckathorne, Tulare hospital interim CAO as Steve Harrell, hospital board members watches on. On Tuesday, Tulare council voted to approve Measure H. (Photo: Luis Hernandez)

 

Ed Henry, left, shakes hands with Dan Heckathorne, Tulare hospital interim CAO as Steve Harrell, hospital board members watches on. On Tuesday, Tulare council voted to approve Measure H. (Photo: Luis Hernandez)

Macedo said having a functioning hospital will help with the city’s economic development. Those planning to invest in Tulare ask about public safety, schools, and local healthcare.

“We can only cover two out of the three,” he said. “We need to get this hospital open. This is good for Tulare.”