Come up and see it sometime: Council told SP Hospital close to reopening

May 10, 2006
Santa Paula News

The end of May or early June will see the Hospital on the Hill reopen for business, and Dr. Sam Edwards told the City Council at the May 1 meeting to come up and see it sometime.

By Peggy KellySanta Paula TimesThe end of May or early June will see the Hospital on the Hill reopen for business, and Dr. Sam Edwards told the City Council at the May 1 meeting to come up and see it sometime.Santa Paula Memorial Hospital - the name is being refined to Santa Paula Hospital - closed on Dec. 19, 2003, after serving the river valley community for more than four decades. Hospital trustees filed for bankruptcy three days later.With the closure of the hospital about 50,000 river valley residents also lost their only Emergency Room, and patients had to be transported to Ventura area hospitals, a particular burden on Fillmore and Piru residents.Ventura County Medical Center purchased the hospital late last year and found that not only had the facility fallen deep into disrepair but also that much of the hospital equipment was missing.Licensing issues further delayed the reopening of the 49-bed hospital.Dr. Edwards noted that the Ventura County Healthcare Agency and Board of Supervisors never wavered in their effort to reopen the hospital.“I bring you good news...most of the hurdles that were uncertain for a long time have now been clarified,” Dr. Sam told the Council. “We’re pretty much now in the final process with the physical plant,” as well as the laborious process of licensing and permitting.Almost each hospital department had to be certified often through different agencies.
“I think we’ll be finished by the third week this month,” followed by an inspection by the state Department of Health Services.Good news also centered on personnel: “We’re making excellent process with the people who will run it, the good people” of the river valley who had worked at the Hospital on the Hill and who now are showing “remarkable” interest in returning.“It’s pretty exceptional that so many are willing to come back,” noted Dr. Edwards.There have been personnel changes including the departure of Chief Operating Officer Jerry Conway who has taken the position of president of St. John’s Pleasant Valley Hospital.Dr. Edwards invited the Council to visit the hospital: “It’s changing weekly...come up and take a look. I would welcome each of you to call me and come see it sometime.”Councilman Gabino Aguirre asked if a replacement had been named for Conway.“Every change has an opportunity,” noted Dr. Edwards but since Santa Paula Hospital is opening as a wing of the Ventura County Medical Center each department “is a department of that hospital...”Aguirre noted that Latino Town Hall is spearheading the reopening community celebration and had held several meetings with Conway.“The Board of Supervisors and particularly Supervisor Kathy Long” has spearheaded the effort to reopen Santa Paula Hospital, which “will be open and fully functional before that celebration,” said Dr. Edwards.

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