Board puts us back on the track for better health care


It’s been more than six years since Catholic Healthcare West closed the doors on Westside Hospital.

Last week, another door opened when the Westside Healthcare District purchased the hospital property.

The district and the five board members – Chuck Hagstrom, Eric Cooper, Teri Jordan, Sheri Black, and Barbara LaBrut, deserve a lot of praise for stepping up to make the purchase when the opportunity presented it.

Just exactly what the future holds for the old hospital buildings remains to be seen.

However, this is a huge step forward in the process of rebuilding our healthcare infrastructure.

Another encouraging sign is the continued interest of a Bakersfield physician and his partner in expanding healthcare services in Taft.

Cooper spoke with Dr. Carlos Alvarez after the sale was finalized and said the conversation was very positive.
Alvarez and his partner, Neil Cabezzas, have a lot to offer – both in the medical sense and in the business side of healthcare.

A partnership between those two and the healthcare district can be a very fruitful one.

The purchase of the hospital property, which includes a relatively new clinic, will also ensure that EMSG stays on as the operator of the urgent care.
That’s another plus. Dr. Steve Washington and the staff have provided a much-needed service very professionally in a cramped location for nearly six years.

Now they’ll have the room they need to continue to take care of patients.

The urgent care is just the start.

Rebuilding our healthcare infrastructure will not be done overnight.

It won’t be cheap. We can’t recreate the 20th century and reopen an acute care hospital anytime soon.

But now we know the worst is behind us and we can now look forward to the day when we don’t have to drive or ride in an ambulance to Bakersfield for anything but routine care from a primary care physician

So thanks, Westside Healthcare District.

You’ve done a good job. Keep up the good work. There’s an entire community pulling for you.