Marcus Pimentel of Royal Oaks states he owes his life to Watsonville Area Medical Facility. He was born early as well as precariously underweight, spending the initial couple of months of his life in the neonatal unit up until he can reach 3 pounds. At age 7, he got meningitis on an outdoor camping journey and also almost died. The personnel of the hospital saved his life a 2nd time.
” I would not be right here if it weren’t for this medical facility,” he states. “I understood early that I owed a great deal to this area.”
Pimentel is currently returning the support, devoting the majority of the in 2014 to saving the healthcare facility’s life after its former owner, for-profit Halsen Health care, filed for insolvency on Dec. 6, 2021, as well as introduced it would close Watsonville Neighborhood Medical facility. It would have left 100,000 people– consisting of over 6,500 North Monterey County residents– needing to take a trip 30 minutes or even more to hospitals in Santa Cruz or Salinas. The health center sees over 30,000 people a year in its emergency room and also provides over 800 children, according to CEO Steven Salyer.
A herculean effort by community participants and regional officials like Pimentel, who helps the county of Santa Cruz as its spending plan supervisor, in addition to state elected authorities led by Sen. John Laird, D-Santa Cruz, promoted the development of the Pajaro Valley Medical Care Area in February. Pimentel as well as 4 others were selected by the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors to the brand-new district board. They obtained court approval to buy the healthcare facility by the end of August and also in simply 7 months they raised over $60 million, with cash originating from the state, the boards of supervisors of both Monterey as well as Santa Cruz counties, and health and wellness organizations like the Central The Golden State Alliance for Health and also Kaiser.
At 12:01 am Thursday, Sept. 2, the hospital officially transformed hands to public district possession. The change was imperceptible the following morning: Individuals came and went, including those in mobility devices being discharged and also a mom leaving while nestling her newborn. The smooth handover followed the board employed the existing CEO, Salyer, as well as maintained all 650 workers.
The biggest change is that the hospital runs out the hands of an exclusive corporation and is now regulated by the community, stood for by the five-member board of supervisors.
Citizens have their initial possibility on Nov. 8 to choose that will represent them on two of the 5 seats. Pimentel is an incumbent and also a first-time candidate, along with fellow incumbent Jasmine Najera. Both are intending to preserve their seats. Najera is a licensed professional social employee presently acting as acting chief executive officer of Pajaro Valley Prevention and Trainee Assistance, which supplies health education, mental health and wellness and also substance abuse solutions as well as therapy.
The two have an opposition in retired doctor Joe Gallagher, who worked at Watsonville Neighborhood from 1986 to 2020, according to his prospect declaration. “We’re all 3 fantastic candidates,” Pimentel claims.
Considering that he as well as Najera have invested their time because February getting ready to take the reins of the medical facility, “it would be a pity to lose what we have actually already done within two months of the beginning of running the health center,” he claims.