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Hazel Hawkins declares fiscal emergency

Statement cites rising costs, inflation, Covid recovery

Hazel Hawkins

Hazel Hawkins Memorial Hospital’s directors last week declared a fiscal emergency that allows the Hollister medical facility to file for bankruptcy if such a step is deemed appropriate, according to the hospital.

Hazel Hawkins’ board of directors declared the resolution of a fiscal emergency at a special meeting on Nov 4. The resolution gives the hospital’s administrators the authority to file a petition under Chapter 9 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code, “if and when they determine that step would be appropriate,” says a press release from Hazel Hawkins. 

A bankruptcy filing would allow the district to optimally restructure its finances. “Hazel Hawkins Memorial Hospital (HHMH) management and board has taken significant steps to reduce expenses over the past years, but record inflation, shrinking reimbursements and the process of recuperating post-Covid have restricted cash flow, a situation that could jeopardize patient safety if not addressed,” says the Nov. 4 press release. 

Hazel Hawkins administrative staff and counsel will continue negotiations with the district’s creditors and “explore all options as they seek the best solutions for HHMH and its patient community,” the press release continues. 

In the near term, HHMH does not expect to make material cuts to services or staff, says the press release.  

The announcement of a declared fiscal emergency comes less than a month after the HHMH board ended its contract with former CEO Steve Hannah. Appointed as interim CEO was Mary Casillas, who was formerly Hazel Hawkins’ Chief Operating Officer. 

HHMH continues to operate its clinics and specialty centers and offer “high-quality patient care without compromise.” All inpatient and outpatient services remain open at HHMH, including the Emergency Department.