I joined the Hazel Hawkins team 26 years ago as a per diem nurse in the ED [emergency department]. I wanted to join a team that was small enough to be a family and help grow services in Hollister where my husband and I were raising our family. My family has chosen to give back to this community as well, my husband is a firefighter for the City of Hollister and both of my son’s work for AMR delivering patient care as Paramedics and EMTs.
Hazel Hawkins is more than a paycheck for me; I take great pride in the clinics that I’ve worked in for many years and now mentoring the staff to deliver the best care to all of our patients. Hazel Hawkins has been serving my family for 50+ years providing our medical care. I, myself, was delivered in the hospital and all of my family have received the very best care here.
Not having this hospital to provide care is a very scary thought for all of us. I can’t even imagine what our community would have endured during COVID without this hospital. We have so many services and programs that we provide to the community. Our five rural health clinics and two specialty centers fulfill a great need for our community, especially those who have no insurance or are underinsured. We work incredible hard to make sure we provide access to care for all.
Emergency services will also be severely affected if this hospital closes. Currently, our EMS systems are already taxed if there are multiple calls happening as our county spans a large geographical area. It would be terrifying to have a true medical emergency and not be able to receive care needed because of the traffic congestion on roads leading out of the county. Without a local hospital, OB patients will risk delivering en route to a distant hospital; exposing mom and baby to complications that could be life-threatening. Patients with cardiac or stroke emergencies do not have time to waste trying to get to an out-of-town hospital for care. I’ve personally witnessed the family devastation when there is a poor patient outcome during an emergency; both for the patient’s family as well as the affect is has on our first responders.
As employees, we are also doing our part to keep the hospital viable. We’ve taken pay cuts, worked with hospital leaders to identify areas to cut costs and looked at new ways to make sure we are maximizing reimbursements in our departments. Most importantly, patient care is what we put in the center of all of our decision-making and that is what has to matter to everyone.
We have excellent leadership that have a passion and commitment to this hospital and we stand with them. Now we need our local elected officials to show their support as well. It would be helpful for those elected officials not understanding the turbulent healthcare environment to please take the time to meet with our administrative team to understand the current climate. This would help to ensure the continuation of the availability of healthcare in our community.