California hospital nurses sound alarm over planned bankruptcy

Hollister, Calif.-based Hazel Hawkins nurses are raising concerns over how the hospital's planned bankruptcy will affect patient care, according to a Nov. 9 news release from the California Nurses Association.

The nurses union said its members were concerned to learn Hazel Hawkins must pay back $5.2 million in COVID-19 government funding. The district must file for bankruptcy by Dec. 31. 

"How can it be that, five months ago, the hospital was talking about investing millions into buying up property and expanding the hospital, and now we are talking about insolvency?" Diane Beck, BSN, RN, a registered nurse at Hazel Hawkins, said in the release. "We need the people managing this public institution to be straight and transparent with the nurses and our community. The health and well-being of Hollister and San Benito County depends on Hazel Hawkins."

Hazel Hawkins CFO Mark Robinson outlined the issues facing the hospital in a Nov. 4 meeting with its board directors. At the meeting, the board granted a resolution providing administrators the authority to file a Chapter 9 bankruptcy petition — which would allow the district to restructure its finances — when they deem appropriate.

Hazel Hawkins is the only hospital in Hollister. Last year, the hospital's emergency room treated more than 21,000 patients, the release said.

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