Lost Hospital — Calexico Hospital, Calexico, California0

Calexico Hospital was one of California’s smallest hospitals in one of the state’s most economically depressed communities. After 47 years of service, the 34-bed facility closed in October 1998, leaving the Imperial Valley border town of 24,000 without a hospital.

The governing body of the hospital surrendered the hospital license to the Department of Health Services (“DHS”, now the California Department of Public Health), a preemptive decision as the Hospital’s license was about to be revoked. The DHS cited repeated violations of state health codes involving record keeping, cleanliness, and training of personnel.  Before the Hospital closed, Medicare and Medi-Cal decertified the Hospital.

Eight years after the Hospital closed, a local jury blamed the hospital’s closure on inappropriate actions by the state regulators and awarded its owners a $12 million verdict.

After Calexico Hospital closed, the signs on the door — in English and Spanish — read “temporarily closed.” Although closure of the acute care facility in Calexico may be permanent, recently the city received news that a San Francisco based company and Pioneers Memorial Hospital plan to build a new long-term, subacute facility near the old hospital. Plans for this medical facility have already been submitted, the cost of which should be paid mostly by health care reform.

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