Kern County Hospital Authority bill on to governor's desk

Kern County Hospital Authority bill on to governor's desk
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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) - A bill going to the governor for consideration would give the Kern County Board of Supervisors the option to establish a hospital authority to manage and administer Kern Medical Center.

The Assembly gave approval Thursday morning, a week after AB 2546 was blessed by the Senate.

Bill sponsor Rudy Salas, a Democratic Assemblyman from Bakersfield, said last week that "the legislature is going to empower Kern County's local government to be able to ensure that this hospital continues to provide vital health care services that the Central Valley so greatly needs."

KMC has been embroiled in financial trouble, but things are getting less dire.

Losses of about $3 million every month have improved to losses about $400,000 a month. County supervisors earlier this month gave hospital leadership approval to lay off dozens of workers. Hospital leadership expressed optimism that fewer layoffs would actually be needed with a higher volume of patients.

"Getting the Hospital Authority approved through the Senate is a critical step for Kern Medical Center's future success and we look forward to the transition and the opportunity it creates," KMC CEO Russell Judd said in a news release from Salas' office last week. "We would like to thank Assemblymember Rudy Salas, Senator Jean Fuller, the Kern County Board of Supervisors and SEIU for their support and heavy lifting throughout this process."