The San Benito Health Care Alliance and Ovation Healthcare presented a letter of intent to the San Benito Health Care District last week seeking a “collaboration” between the three entities to steer the future of Hazel Hawkins Memorial Hospital.

“The Collaborative’s proposal will not incur the costs and public outcry by the Sale of Hazel Hawkins. It is our belief our collaboration will generate improved community support and

appreciation with our efforts to keep Hazel Hawkins in local ownership and

control of one of San Benito County’s most treasured institutions,” the letter reads.

The San Benito Health Care Alliance is a nonprofit founded by physicians at HHMH seeking alternatives for the future of the hospital. The organization had previously joined up with Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital administration to engage in talks with HHMH administration to discuss a potential offer. Now, it is proposing a collaboration alongside Ovation.

Ovation Healthcare is a Brentwood, Tennessee-based healthcare management company with 45 years of experience. It runs 45 facilities across the nation, including 27 critical access hospitals.

The collaborative LOI is the latest of four proposals submitted to the SBHCD board seeking a partnership with the embattled Hollister hospital, which filed for Chapter 9 bankruptcy in May 2023. Court proceedings for the bankruptcy filing are still under way. 

American Advanced Management (AAM), a Modesto-based private healthcare company, was the first to submit an LOI in August 2023. Since then, the County of San Benito proposed the creation of a Joint Powers Authority between SBHCD, the county and Salinas Valley Health. In January of this year, Michigan-based Insight Foundation of America, a nonprofit healthcare company, submitted its own LOI.

The collaborative proposal by SBHCA and Ovation is the second group with local ties to submit an LOI.

The letter addresses seven criteria previously outlined by HHMH administration in order for an LOI to be considered:

  • A demonstrated and long-standing history of experience of healthcare administration. 
  • The ability to mitigate some of the risks and liabilities while further developing assets.
  • Provide proof of funds necessary to meet the bidder’s purchase price.
  • Provide evidence of adequate liquidity and financing to meet all post transaction obligations to the hospital such as future lease payments.
  • A proven record for stabilizing distressed rural hospitals.
  • No track record of rapid asset liquidation. 
  • Understands specific terms and conditions as well as the general obligation of bonds and payoffs.

“The Collaboration by its name set our approach to save Hazel Hawkins, which will mean a collaboration of ourselves, the District Board, Hazel Hawkins leadership, medical and operational colleagues, and most importantly the community to implement the most transparent organization to protect and preserve quality healthcare will always be available to San Benito County,” the letter says.

HHMH administration declined to provide a statement at this time.

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