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December 2, 2022

Hazel Hawkins seeks $250M for seismic upgrades

Hospital unable to meet projected healthcare demands

Hazel Hawkins Memorial Hospital is hoping to secure state funding so it can complete a mandatory seismic upgrade by 2030, according to hospital staff. Such a project is expected to cost the Hollister hospital at least $250 million.

Senate Bill 1953, known as the Hospital Seismic Standards bill, requires all California hospitals to build new facilities or complete a retrofit by 2030 in order to remain fully operational in the event of an 8.3-magnitude earthquake, says a press release from HHMH.

Hazel Hawkins’ Medical/Surgical Unit was built in 1962 and is not currently sized to meet the inpatient needs of the local community. The unit—which is the hospital’s core inpatient care area—does not meet the 2030 seismic mandate.

According to the 2021 Hospital Master Plan, the projected cost of retrofitting or building a new inpatient care facility is upwards of $250 million. “Retrofitting the existing hospital, a minimum 5-year construction project, would add significant limitations on patient care and access to services on an already congested campus,” says the press release.

Thus HHMH—along with 31 other hospitals in California—is asking for a portion of the state’s $97.5 billion budget surplus to help meet the 2030 seismic mandate, the press release continues.

To that end, the San Benito Health Care District Board of Trustees acknowledged California District 56 Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia for submitting a $1 billion funding request to the Assembly Budget Committee on May 19, to help public district hospitals to make seismic upgrades in accordance with the mandates. The request has been endorsed by Assemblymember Robert Rivas and State Senator Anna Caballero, says the press release.

“Our mission statement clearly directs us to be responsive to the healthcare needs of our district,” said Steve Hannah, CEO of HHMH. “To do this, we must meet regulatory compliance requirements, including those set forth in SB1953.”

HHMH officials are also hoping state budget surplus funds can help expand the local hospital to meet the area’s growing healthcare demands. The district’s master plan demonstrates that HHMH’s current 25-bed “critical access designation” does not meet needs now, much less in 2030, the press release says.

“Master Planning forecasted our hospital would need a minimum of 39 inpatient beds by 2031, based on a projected Average Daily Census (ADC) of 20 patients,” Hannah said.  “Our April ADC was 21. Regardless of the 2030 Seismic Standards, Hazel Hawkins Memorial Hospital needs to build a secondary campus, with 50 inpatient beds and room to grow to 75-100 beds.”

Hannah added, “I am grateful for Assemblymember Garcia’s reasonable request of budget surplus funds for Hospital Seismic compliance and to our own representatives, Caballero and Rivas for supporting the budget request.”

Winn appointed to district board

The San Benito Health Care District Board of Directors unanimously appointed Don Winn to the board on May 26, says a press release from Hazel Hawkins Memorial Hospital. Winn represents Zone 4 on the district’s board of directors.

Don Winn

The Zone 4 vacancy resulted from the resignation of former Director Mary Casillas, effective April 18. Casillas resigned from the elected, volunteer board position to accept a role as Chief Operations Officer for HHMH.

The district board accepted Casillas’ resignation, and voted to fill the Zone 4 vacancy by appointment, rather than by election, says the press release. The board posted the vacancy and accepted applications for the director’s seat.

Winn has been active in the insurance industry since 1982, with a focus on food and agribusiness, according to HHMH. He has served two terms on the HHMH Foundation Board of Directors.

“I have always been an advocate for the (Hospital) District,” Winn said.

Jeri Hernandez, Chair of the San Benito Health Care District Board, said, “On behalf of my elected colleagues, we were pleased to select Don to complete the Zone 4 term. We know his passion for Hazel Hawkins Memorial Hospital and his commitment to ensuring we fulfill our mission to be a responsive and comprehensive healthcare resource for our community.”

The San Benito Health Care District is governed by a five-member Board of Directors.  Their Board Meetings are held the fourth Thursday of each month beginning at 5pm. Agendas, minutes and required postings are found online at

Staff Report
A staff member edited this provided article.

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