California Attorney General Rob Bonta said on Thursday that he has conditionally approved the sale of “financially distressed” Madera Community Hospital to the corporate parent of Saint Agnes Medical Center in Fresno.
Under California law, the sale or transfer of control of a healthcare facility owned by a nonprofit — as is the case with Madera Community — must secure the approval of the state attorney general.
“Having a hospital in the neighborhood can make the difference between life and death for a patient,” Bonta said in a news release. “Maintaining access to critical healthcare for our communities is always our top priority. Today’s conditions seek to protect the welfare of Madera County residents, and ensure they can continue to access life-saving and hospital services when they need them most.”
Trinity Health Corp. operates Saint Agnes and is a not-for-profit Catholic health-care system. It operates 92 hospitals in 22 states.
Lawmakers Landed Funds to Keep Doors Open
In September, GV Wire reported that an effort by state Sen. Anna Caballero (D-Merced) and Assemblyman Frank Bigelow (R-O’Neals) had secured $5 million in state funding to keep Madera Community open.
According to a joint statement from the lawmakers, the $5 million was intended to “guarantee that the facility stays open until a merger with Trinity Health … is concluded.”
The nonprofit hospital, which opened in 1971, has 106 inpatient beds.
More than 80% of the hospital’s revenue is from Medi-Cal and Medicare patients. Without the state’s intervention in September, people needing medical attention would have had to travel more than 20 miles for services.
Terms of the Sale
Under the terms of the sale, Bonta said, Trinity has committed to:
1. Making financing available up to $45 million for installing and implementing a new medical records system and providing seismic upgrades to the hospital;
2. Spending $3 million per year on other necessary investments into the hospital, including equipment upgrades.
Under the terms of the conditional approval, Bonta’s office said, Trinity is required to:
1. Use commercially reasonable best efforts in good faith to maintain services at the Madera Community Hospital for 5 years;
2. Accept price caps to ensure continued affordability for Madera residents;
3. Ensure continued certification of the hospital as a Medi-Cal and Medicare facility;
4. Provide charity care, financial assistance to patients, and community benefits;
5. Comply with nondiscrimination rules in the provision of healthcare services; and
6. Provide emergency reproductive healthcare services, notice and information to the public about nonemergency reproductive healthcare not provided, as well as information about alternative licensed providers and transport.
Read a copy of the conditional approval letter at this link.