Fresno County supervisors

An medical emergency proclamation for Fresno County due to the closure of Madera Community Hospital has expired.

published on February 7, 2023 - 3:30 PM
Written by The Business Journal Staff

Fresno County announced Tuesday the end of the local emergency proclamation put in place Jan. 3 due to the closure of Madera Community Hospital.

The proclamation was based on no bed capacity at local hospitals and the impact of the closure of the hospital as RSV, flu and Covid-19 continued to fill hospital beds.

Even though the emergency proclamation ends Feb. 7, both the Board of Supervisors and local hospital leadership agree that Fresno County’s hospital system is still in need of assistance from the federal and state government.

Since the pandemic, hospital expenses have increased dramatically. Though more residents have access to coverage through government programs such as Medi-Cal and Medicare, these programs do not cover the cost of providing care. Furthermore, hospital reimbursement rates have not seen a legislative increase in the last decade, resulting in an added financial burden.

These issues have only been exacerbated by the closure of the hospital and accommodating those patients, as well as those from Madera County correctional facilities, to seek care from Fresno County hospitals that are operating well above capacity.

“The strain on our local healthcare system is not sustainable and has far-reaching consequences on the health of our community,” says Saint Agnes President and CEO Nancy Hollingsworth. “All of our area hospitals are at critical capacity, which means access to needed care among Valley residents is becoming even more limited.”

Additionally, the hospitals in the region continue to struggle with high volumes of patients during a nationwide health care worker shortage, as well as slow wait times and extremely busy emergency departments.

“Given the current trends, our County and region cannot afford to lose one more hospital,” said Rais Vohra, interim health officer for the Fresno County Department of Public Health

“We are extremely grateful to the Fresno County Board of Supervisors for the 30-day emergency status declaration, which has now expired. We will continue to look for ways to preserve essential healthcare resources — Community’s Level 1 trauma and comprehensive burn center — while we work with local, state and federal partners to solve healthcare worker shortages and the volume of patients coming through our emergency departments that need hospital admission,” stated Robyn Gonzales, chief operating officer of Community Regional Medical Center.

Following the Madera Community Hospital closing in December, Madera County Sheriff Tyson Pogue proclaimed a local emergency due to the impact of the hospital closure.

Due to the lack of hospital services in Madera County, law enforcement would feel the strain of response times and other emergency services.

By proclaiming a local state of emergency, the Sheriff’s Department and Madera County formally requested help from the state and federal government.

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