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Watsonville Community Hospital, and acute care facility, will be sold to the nonprofit group the Pajaro Valley Healthcare District Project in a deal that hospital officials say will help keep their doors open in the long run.

The 106-bed hospital is currently undergoing bankruptcy proceedings and intends on asking the bankruptcy court to approve the PVHDP as a buyer and approve the sale through a court-supervised auction, hospital officials said.

Hospital officials are anticipating on asking the court to consider the sale by February 2022.

“While we still have work to do before a final agreement, this step averted imminent closure of Watsonville Community Hospital and provides a realistic path toward a stable, sustainable hospital that supports the health and welfare of the people of Pajaro Valley,” said PVHDP President and CEO Mimi Hall.

Watsonville Community Hospital CEO Steven Salyer said, “Watsonville Community Hospital has faced many financial challenges, and we are working hard to come up with solutions. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the hospital, and it has been difficult to recover. We believe the best future for this hospital, its employees and the community is to have a buyer dedicate itself to serving the Watsonville community and maintaining and improving the hospital as a vital component of the county’s healthcare safety net.”

“We believe the best future for this hospital, its employees and the community is to have a buyer dedicate itself to serving the Watsonville community and maintaining and improving the hospital as a vital component of the county’s healthcare safety net.”

Steven Salyer, Watsonville Community Hospital CEO

Nurses at Watsonville Community Hospital have been calling on Prospect Medical Holdings, which manages the hospital, and Medical Properties Trust, which owns the property, to make changes.

Back in October, nurses and the union California Nurses Association/ National Nurses United held a protest alleging short staffing, erosion of patients, and deteriorating working conditions.

“Watsonville used to be a wonderful place to work where patients were at the center of our shared mission,” hospital critical care unit nurse Roseann Farris said in a statement reacting to the bankruptcy filing.

“This news comes as no surprise to the nurses, as we have continued to sound the alarm on the deteriorating conditions after we were sold to an out-of-state, for-profit corporation. Nurses are taking a stand and demanding Prospect and MPT stop putting profits over the lives and safety of our patients and community, and keep Watsonville Community Hospital open,” she said.

The PVHDP was created through a partnership with Santa Cruz County, the City of Watsonville, Community Health Trust of Pajaro Valley and Salud Para La Gente.