7 June 2023 |
Adventist Health has agreed to acquire Bakersfield Heart Hospital, a move that will save around 300 jobs and ensure the continuation of the hospital’s legacy in patient care. This agreement comes after years of financial struggle, which were further exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The 47-bed hospital had been forced to lay off 114 employees due to economic hardship, according to an article in Bakersfield.com. The Bakersfield Heart Hospital (BHH) has been a cherished community institution for over 24 years, with a unique structure, as it was majority corporate-owned but minority physician-owned, allowing the participating physicians considerable decision-making authority. However, the extreme financial losses resulting from the pandemic forced the owners to surrender their stakes.
According to Bakersfieldnow.com, Dr. Bhambi, who founded BHH 24 years ago, expressed mixed feelings over the change of ownership. Despite acknowledging the necessity of the acquisition to keep the hospital afloat, he expressed some sadness over surrendering the ownership, due to his deep-seated emotional investment. “A stand-alone hospital gets less revenue because it doesn’t have the purchasing power,” said Bhambi. “It also buys things at a higher level because it can negotiate a better price from the vendors. So it creates a conundrum. And that’s what compelled us to look for a new partnership.”
Jason Wells, president of the Adventist Health Central California Network, described the acquisition as a significant opportunity to maintain high-quality care in the community. Following the acquisition, Adventist Health intends to subsidize the care provided by Bakersfield Heart Hospital, aiming to restore its workforce to its previous number of around 400 employees prior to the layoffs announced in September.
Adventist Health, based in Roseville, already operates four hospitals in Kern County, with the addition of Bakersfield Heart coming into effect as of June 1.