Press Release

Registered nurses are deeply gratified after court dismisses Hazel Hawkins bankruptcy claim

Nurses at Hazel Hawkins town hall

RNs say: “We feel vindicated that the court was not persuaded by false claims and distortions.”

Registered nurses at Hazel Hawkins Memorial Hospital in Hollister, Calif. are deeply gratified that Judge Stephen Johnson, of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Northern California District of California, has agreed with the nurses represented by California Nurses Association and dismissed the San Benito County Health Care District’s assertion of bankruptcy, stating that the district “failed to show it is insolvent.”

“This is a great day for the people of San Benito County and those who receive care or work at Hazel Hawkins Memorial Hospital,” said Diane Beck, a registered nurse. “We knew from day one that this claim of bankruptcy was bogus and intended to bust the unions and scare the community. We feel vindicated that the court was not persuaded by the false claims and distortions presented by the district during this bankruptcy case. Now we will move forward in our fight to maintain a full-service acute care hospital that keeps in place all current medical service lines so we can bring the highest quality of care to our community.”

In his ruling issued today, Judge Johnson noted that the financial forecast submitted by the San Benito County Health Care District “has substantial differences when compared to the District’s audited financial statements and its monthly internal financial statements, and this became a major point of contention during the trial.” In conclusion, the judge found “[T]he District failed to present a coherent theory to show the appropriate number of days of cash on hand for the District. For these reasons, the court does not find the B. Riley Expert Report to be a reliable source of information for determining insolvency and discounts its conclusions accordingly.”

The judge’s decision aligns with the findings of a report commissioned last year by San Benito County, which found that Hazel Hawkins “does not need to be in bankruptcy or sold to a for-profit provider.”

Nurses intend to continue their robust public education program to ensure the people of San Benito County understand that as the true owners of Hazel Hawkins they have the power to decide the future of the hospital.

Nurses are pleased to note that since they held their first town hall meeting in July 2023, there are now multiple letters of intent from various entities looking to partner with Hazel Hawkins. Of these, the San Benito County’s letter of intent, is the only one which would keep Hazel Hawkins a public asset.

“It is notable, that San Benito County supervisors recognized the importance of keeping Hazel Hawkins a public asset,” said Ariahnna Sanchez, a registered nurse. “It is clear the supervisors understand the health and well-being of the county is intrinsically tied to the health and well-being of Hazel Hawkins Memorial Hospital. Today’s ruling should make it clear to the public, that despite false claims from the district, Hazel Hawkins is not in dire straits. We hope to work together with the entire community’s engagement to secure a future for Hazel Hawkins that would keep management accountable to the public and would maintain current service lines and grow our hospital to the benefit of all those who live in San Benito County.”

California Nurses Association/National Nurses United is the largest and fastest-growing union and professional association of registered nurses in the nation with 100,000 members in more than 200 facilities throughout California and nearly 225,000 RNs nationwide.