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Low Count Closes Hospital Ward
0130 Hospital Ward
A handwritten sign is posted at the nurses station of Oak Valley Hospitals medical ward. With only two patients, the ward closed and transferred the two to its Intensive Care Unit for care. PHOTO CONTRIBUTED

A dropping occupancy rate in Oak Valley Hospital’s surgical and medical ward to only two patients caused the closing of the unit earlier this month until the number of in-house care patients was able to rise at the 35-bed facility. The two remaining patients were transferred to the hospital’s intensive care unit for their care.

Oak Valley CEO John McCormick confirmed the closing of the unit, stating that it was a financially prudent decision and was only for a two- to three-day period.

“It was a good use of financial resources,” said McCormick. “It’s a reasonable tactic until the hospital census returned to normal volumes. Certainly, all hospitals all over are doing this.”

McCormick stated that the ward has reopened and the census has risen to additional in-house patients.

The hospital’s new $70 million building opened in August 2012 and houses outpatient services labs, imaging, and the emergency room. The second floor of the new building still remains vacant.

The old portion of the hospital continues to house the 35 patient beds including ICU and rehabilitation.

In 2012 Oak Valley Hospital announced that it operated at a profit with operations up 20 percent under McCormick’s tutelage from the previous year.

The hospital district oversees Oak Valley Hospital, a long-term care center, three health clinics and ambulance services. It provides health care to residents of eastern Stanislaus and southern San Joaquin counties.