Hazel Hawkins Memorial Hospital officials said this week that HHMH will enter the second quarter of 2023 in a “better than expected cash position,” due to cost savings measures and optimistic negotiations with MediCal, Medicare and Anthem.
The hospital also revealed that it has received documented interest in Hazel Hawkins from a potential buyer or partner. Details of that interaction are confidential, according to a March 9 press release from Hazel Hawkins.
HHMH Interim CEO Mary Casillas said these efforts have extended the Hollister hospital’s outlook to late this summer for being able to continue providing the current level of healthcare operations, says the press release.
“The Herculean efforts by our team are finally catching up with the crisis,” Casillas said.
The hospital’s board of directors in November unanimously voted to declare a fiscal emergency for the ailing facility. Hospital officials have said since then that the most likely way to make HHMH financially viable for the long term is through a partnership or acquisition by another entity—which HHMH is in the process of seeking.
The hospital has also sought and received short-term funding sources since late 2022. In January, HHMH received a $3 million loan from the California Health Facilities Financing Authority. However, as of earlier this month, HHMH officials expected to run out of cash by the end of April.
The March 9 update from HHMH extends that timeline until at least late this summer. For the past several months, San Benito Health Care District officials and their consultants have been searching for ways to improve the cash position of the hospital and the district in an effort to stave off a possible bankruptcy filing, says the press release. Those efforts included receiving or scheduling near-term payments from MediCal, Medicare and Anthem, cost savings measures and reductions in staffing costs.
But the situation is still “critical,” the press release says.
“We are not out of the woods yet, but we are in a much better position to complete a partnership agreement or sale by this fall,” said Casillas. “Though our cash position has improved dramatically over the past few weeks, we need more help. We hope that the community can see our progress and get behind our efforts to save access to quality healthcare for thousands of San Benito County residents.”
The hospital’s improved cash situation comes on the heels of the district receiving its first confidential Letter of Interest (LOI) from a prospective partner/buyer, with several more organizations conducting ongoing due diligence activities, according to the press release, which does not name those prospective or interested parties.
“The importance of finding the right partner or buyer is crucial for our community as it will pave the way to access to critical healthcare services here in San Benito County,” Casillas said.