Flooded nursing facility to reopen in February

Restoration includes flooring, repairing drywall and removing asbestos.
Photo by John Chadwell.
Photo by John Chadwell.
Photo by John Chadwell.
Photo by John Chadwell.


A little over two weeks after the Mabie Northside Skilled Nursing Facility in Hollister was deluged by floodwaters, Hazel Hawkins Memorial Hospital CEO Ken Underwood said it is scheduled to reopen in early February. Clogged street drains caused by heavy rain forced the evacuation and relocation of 46 patients. 

Underwood told BenitoLink on Dec. 20 that workers from Disaster Kleenup Specialists were completing cleanup and abatement of water damage and asbestos found in the walls.

“We will begin restoration of the facility by putting in flooring and doing repairs to the drywall damaged from the flood,” Underwood said. That work was started Dec. 23.

The hospital is required to remove up to 12 inches of asbestos exposed to the water, Underwood said. If the asbestos was undisturbed, it can remain in place because it’s not considered a hazard. The California Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development (OSHPD) examined the building on Dec. 13 and authorized Hazel Hawkins to initiate work to restore the facility to its original design.

“We’re not remodeling, but we are able to restore,” Underwood said.

The 46 facility residents displaced by the flooding on Dec. 4 continue to reside either at the Mabie Southside Nursing Facility or in the hospital itself. Even though Hazel Hawkins is in the process of seeking designation as a critical access facility and has reduced its number of beds from 49 to 25, Underwood said moving the residents into the hospital did not adversely affect its capabilities. He said the reduction was accomplished primarily by converting semi-private rooms that had two beds in them into private rooms with only one bed.

“Then when we had this disaster we contacted the California Department of Public Health in San Jose and they gave us a waiver to allow 20 skilled nursing patients in the acute hospital,” he said. “We’re still licensed for 25 acute beds. We can still take in up to 15 patients on the acute side, while being allowed on a temporary waiver to have up to 20 patients on the skilled nursing side.”

Underwood explained that are still six or seven beds for labor and delivery in the Hazel Hawkins Hospital Women’s Center, and four beds in the Intensive Care Unit. Disaster Kleenup has not yet submitted a bill for its services, so he’s not sure what the final cost will be.

“The insurance estimated the cleanup cost will be no more than $215,000,” he said. “Restoration is also an insurance claim and since that has not occurred we’re not sure what that will be, but OSHPD has already authorized us to proceed with the restoration.”

Consideration was given to potential loss of business, Underwood said, which is covered by insurance for up to $18 million. He believes that amount is more than sufficient, and said that so far there hasn’t been any loss of business due to the flooding.

“On a limited basis, we are still taking new admissions to the skilled nursing facility,” he said. “We’re fortunate we had the availability so no one had to go out of town and we got the waiver as long as we can provide documentation that the environment is safe.”

Even though engineers have told Underwood that the facility should be ready to reoccupy by the latter part of January, he estimates it will actually be February before residents can move back in.

“OSHPD has an inspector of record here overseeing the project who ensures the materials and workmanship meets the regulatory standards,” Underwood said.


Other related BenitoLink articles:

Flooding forces nursing facility evacuation



John Chadwell

John Chadwell is a freelance photojournalist with additional experience as a copywriter, ghostwriter, scriptwriter, and novelist. He is a former U.S. Navy Combat Photojournalist and is an award-winning writer, having worked for magazine, newspapers, radio and television. He has a BA in Journalism and Mass Communications from Chapman University and graduate studies at USC Cinema School. John worked as a scriptwriting consultant, and his own script, "God's Club," was produced and released in 2016. He has also written eight novels, ranging from science fiction to true crime, which are sold on Amazon. To contact John Chadwell, send an email to: [email protected]