Watsonville Community Hospital is one of 17 medical facilities in California that will receive immediate multimillion-dollar financial assistance in the form of zero-interest loans from the State of California.
Gov. Gavin Newsom on Thursday announced the $300 million Distressed Hospital Loan Program. Locally, this includes Hazel Hawkins Memorial Hospital in San Benito County.
Watsonville Community Hospital will receive $8.3 million, and Hazel Hawkins will receive $10 million as part of the program.
The funds are intended to bolster distressed hospitals operations and improve regional health-care services.
Assemblyman Robert Rivas, whose 29th District includes those hospitals, praised Assemblywoman Esmeralda Soria for bringing the funds.
Soria, of Merced, authored legislation to launch the loan program in response to the closure of Madera Community Hospital in her district. Her bill was signed into law by the governor earlier this year.
“I’m also proud that our state has been able to provide a lifeline to many small, rural hospitals, which are closing at record rates in other states, but California has shown a commitment to maintaining access to care for all,” Rivas stated in a press release. “We have a lot of work to do to ensure that our communities continue to have the best health-care services. I am very pleased we were able to quickly deliver this financial help to our hospitals that need it most.”
Sen. John Laird, who authored legislation that allowed Pajaro Valley Healthcare District to form in 2021, said he was grateful for the funds.
“The Watsonville Hospital board and staff have set a standard for accountability and transparency in their recovery, and I am hopeful that the Hazel Hawkins administration shows the same organizational determination to remain a sustainable force in the community,” Laird said.
For information, visit tinyurl.com/mr2c8f24.