The current hospital, a district hospital with a publicly elected board, was built in the 1950s. It offers acute care and outpatient services and operates two rural clinics in Tehachapi and Mojave. The foundation incorporated in 2001 to help fund construction of a hospital and long-term care facility. For more information, go to www.thfinc.org. [email protected] (661) 267-5744 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! In 2004, voters passed a bond issue to improve the quality of local health care by expanding and upgrading emergency room, X-ray, diagnostic imaging and mammogram facilities and services; improving laboratory facilities; and modernizing hospital acute-care facilities. The hospital, designated by the state in 2001 as a critical-access rural facility, has until 2013 to either retrofit or replace its 24-bed building. “The nearest hospital to us is Antelope Valley Hospital in Lancaster. There are a couple of hospitals in Bakersfield, which is another 50miles away. We serve 21 separate population centers such as Keene and Arvin,” Richards said. “This is something that’s very much needed. It could be a matter of life or death if you have a serious injury or illness by the time you get to a hospital.” Foundation officials said if the hospital closes and its license to operate as a rural critical-access facility lapses, obtaining a new license would be difficult and time consuming. The rural critical-access designation allows Tehachapi Hospital to receive cost-based Medicare reimbursement, thereby increasing the Medicare dollars the hospital receives. TEHACHAPI – Tehachapi Hospital officials want to build a new hospital, saying it would be too expensive to retrofit the existing facilities to meet earthquake-safety standards. With $15 million in voter-approved bond funding in hand and about $1.5million saved up, hospital officials and a nonprofit foundation are seeking to raise another $3.5million to pay for the $20million project. “The cost of retrofitting the hospital to conform to current guidelines is too expensive,” said Jim Richards, chairman of the Tehachapi Hospital Foundation’s corporate fundraising committee. “It’s cheaper to build a brand-new state-of-the-art hospital.” The 24-bed hospital would be built in a newly annexed area about a mile north of where the current hospital is located.
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