Supervisors Green-Light Hospital Authority Plan

County supervisors have approved a plan that will shift oversight of Kern Medical Center to a hospital authority.

Supervisor Zack Scrivner said he’s somewhat optimistic about KMC blossoming under the new arrangement, which should help remove some of the bureaucratic hurdles keeping the hospital from profitability.

“We may decide that this isn’t the best course of action, but, right now, this is the best idea we have,” Scrivner said. “I think it’s going to afford us opportunities for more flexibility.”

Supervisor Mike Maggard agreed, saying they must do something to dig KMC out of a hole that’s several million dollars deep.

“Our mandate is to serve people’s medical needs as best we can, and to do it in the most fiscally responsible, prudent, expedient way we can,” he said. “Because, if we don’t stop the hemorrhage, we won’t have a hospital.”

The county will spend $2 million to put the plan in motion. KMC discovered a $64 million loss last year.

A board will be assembled in April after it’s formally installed in March. The full transfer of power will happen by the end of the year.

– Anthony Pollreisz