MADERA COUNTY, Calif. (KMJ/KFSN) — Adventist Health and UCSF have revealed a new plan that could help reopen Madera Community Hospital.
On Thursday, UCSF officials announced they are planning to enter the bidding process to buy the hospital with Adventist Health.
“We’re trying to keep critical care local here,” said Suresh Gunasekaran, the President and CEO of UCSF Health.
The next steps in the process include UCSF and Adventist Health entering bankruptcy proceedings for the hospital.
If approved, Adventist Health, UCSF, and Madera County will then submit a bid proposal in bankruptcy court.
But the proposal comes as another company is in the process of getting approval to reopen the shuttered facility.
American Advanced Management says they are just days away from receiving court approval to manage, reopen and purchase the shuttered hospital.
A statement from American Advanced Management said, in part:
“In the 7 weeks since our proposal was selected by the debtor, AAM has made substantial progress with the support of many government agencies, including the Attorney General’s office. Any change in direction at this point opens the door to many more months of delays, further jeopardizing lives and health in the Madera community.”
But a change in direction could come with UCSF and Adventist Health’s latest proposal.
“We will be engaging with our respective council that have expertise in the bankruptcy process and the bidding process,” said Kerry L. Heinrich, the President and CEO of Adventist Health. “We will work directly with UCSF and the County of Madera.”
The 100-bed hospital closed its doors in December 2022 after years of financial struggles.
In July of last year, Adventist Health had agreed to manage the hospital in a non-binding letter of intent.
The deal fell through in November after Adventist Health announced that reopening the hospital would be too costly with the limited financial resources available at the time.
“Adventist Health looked at the circumstances surrounding Madera and realized we just couldn’t do it on our own,” said Heinrich.
The closure has left residents across Madera County in need of healthcare. David Bacci with the Hospital Council said getting the hospital reopened is critical.
“One of the things that we lost when Madera community closed was access to OB care and prenatal care,” said Bacci. “People have to now travel at least 30 minutes. But in some cases, 45 minutes or an hour when they’re in labor.”
He added that with the hospital up and running, it would ease the burden on the surrounding healthcare community.
“They’re so overimpacted and overburdened,” said Bacci. “It is because we know that people are not seeking the care that they need when they need it.”
Gunasekaran said that they are firmly aware that there is still a lot of homework that needs to be done, as well as a lot of planning.
While both UCSF and Adventist Health would be involved in the operations, UCSF Health said that Adventist Health would take the lead at Madera Community Hospital.
Madera County Administrative Officer Jay Varney said county leaders support this new proposed effort to reopen the hospital.
If this new partnership moves forward, state Senator Anna Cabarello said there is potential for this hospital to be a teaching facility.
As for American Advanced Management, they said since making their offer to Madera Community Hospital last year, they have remained committed to reopening the facility.
The company said it welcomes UCSF’s support in any way.
Action News also reached out to the bankruptcy lawyer for Madera Community Hospital and is working on getting a response.