The year seemed to have started off well enough, as in the Jan. 20 edition of the Pioneer Review, then CEO Walt Beck announced that CRMC earned high patient satisfaction.
“It’s don’t get excited too often and I am excited about this,” said Beck.
Beck also said that the hospital received a 40-point increase in overall rating, putting the facility in the 87% percentile of participating hospitals nationwide.
Yet that same week, the hospital announced that it was suspending its maternity ward to budgetary shortcomings.
“We loose about $7,500 with every baby delivered and about $1 million annually,” said Beck.
He also said that the closing of the maternity ward would not affect the newly opened Women’s Health Center.
“The funds saved can be spent in a way that has a greater overall impact on the health and well-being of the community,” said Beck.
The writing on the wall is discovered.
In February, the hospital announced it was to begin providing transitional care services to provide better care assistance to its patients and community members.
“We are underutilizing our capacity and by partnering with neighboring hospitals, we can offer a valuable service to our community,” said Beck. “This is a win-win situation for the hospital, we can fill beds that otherwise empty while providing a needed service the community.”
This wasn’t enough.
In April, the hospital announced it would be closing its doors.
“We regret to inform the community of our pending closure of the hospital; however, during the last three years, it has become increasingly more difficult for a small community hospital to survive financially,” said Wayne Allen, Chief Restructuring Officer and Interim Chief Executive Officer at CRMC.
Officials described a “perfect storm” of insurance reimbursement cuts and tougher regulations under, the Affordable Care Act, as the reason for this decision.
“I am enthusiastic for a new beginning for CRMC,” said Allen. “I am impressed by the amount of support and interest the community has with its health care; it’s encouraging.”
Allen added that some buyers and interested parties had approached the hospital with negotiations.
Shortly after the hospital announced it was closing the board held two community meetings where the public had questions, and the hospital board had very little answers.
“When I first arrived, I went through the financial statements and discovered that the hospital was not financially solvent, and took a look at Chapter 11 Bankruptcy
– but I would not be able to show a repayment plan because the hospital had no cash,” said Wayne Allen then Chief Executive Officer and Chief Restructuring Officer of CRMC.
After Allen discovered that CRMC faced a loss of $3 Million at the end of the 2015 fiscal year, he presented his findings to the board, and the decision was made to close the hospital.
“The hospital had no safety net,” said Allen, “It is typical in rural communities to have a tax revenue to help cover hospital shortfalls. However, this was never put into place – and it’s too late now.
The community pointed fingers at former CEO, Walt beck; the board stuck to their statement that the hospitals failure as at fault of reimbursement rates, and healthcare regulations.
On Friday, April 22, Colusa Regional Medical Center shut its doors.
Soon after completing a series of community meetings, Allen announced that it had entered into an agreement with Adventist Health to acquire three rural health clinics enabling the county to have some sort of medical care after the hospitals imminent closure.
“As we work through this difficult situation in our community, we’re pleased to announce that Adventist Health will assume responsibility for our community care clinics in Arbuckle, Colusa, and Williams,” said Allen, “The health system will provide stability and access to health services in our region’s rural communities.”
Finally, a glimmer of hope. American Specialty Healthcare Inc. filed a motion to approve its sale agreement with the defunct Colusa Regional Medical Center, which had been closed since April.
The appointed bankruptcy trustee for CRMC agreed to sell property available to CRMC’s estate in the amount of $1 million.
On July 1, American Specialty filed court documents requesting that the Eastern District Bankruptcy Court shorten the time to hear its motion to approve the sale agreement.
On Sept. 27, it was announced that the hospital sale agreement to American Specialty Healthcare Inc. in the amount of $1.1 million had been approved by the Bankruptcy Court, and that it would move into escrow shortly thereafter, after which it would be re-licensed and opened.
Despite the judge’s approval, Colusa County Counsel Marcos Kropf stated on Sept. 27 that the court’s approval was not final, and was partially conditioned on the county’s additional consent to a short term lease between American Specialty and the bankruptcy trustee, while the former worked to obtain the transfer of the hospital’s then-suspended license.
On Nov. 9, we reported that American Specialty Healthcare had signed an amended lease agreement with the county to begin the process of reopening the hospital in Colusa, and that ASH was expected to take ownership the following day. In what was essentially a formality, the Board of Supervisors approved the lease agreement on Nov. 15. The lease was for a period of 30 years, and included stipulations that the company maintain an emergency room and support services, and that it would have the hospital up and operating within 18 months.
At the Dec. 13 meeting of the Colusa County Board of Supervisors, the new CEO of the hospital, Kelley Gentry, formally introduced himself to the board members, and indicated that he is shooting for a spring re-opening.