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1A Remaking America: What happens when a hospital closes?

A community discussion around healthcare is hosted at Fresno City College by KVPR and 1A.
A community discussion around healthcare is hosted at Fresno City College by KVPR and 1A.

What happens to a community when its only hospital closes?That’s the questionMadera,California,is facing.

Madera Community Hospital closed in December and filed for bankruptcy Friday. The emergency room now sits empty, and labor and delivery services have stopped. And the hospital’s three rural clinics are also closed. 

More rural hospital closures could be on the horizon in California and around the country. Some 136 rural hospitals closed between 2010 and 2021, according to the American Hospital Association. About 600 hospitals are currently at risk in the U.S., according to a January report from the Center for Healthcare Quality and Payment Reform.

We traveled to Fresno as part of our Remaking America collaboration with six partner stations across the country, including KVPR in California’s Central Valley.Earlier this month, we brought the community together to talk about the hospital closure, which has left more than 150,000 residents without an emergency room within 30 miles and has put a strain on emergency room departments in Fresno and Merced. 

This conversation is part of our Remaking America collaboration with six public radio stations, including KVPR in Fresno, California. Remaking America is funded in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

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Anna Casey