The emergency department at Coalinga Regional Medical Center closed Thursday.
A hospital official said a staffing shortage forced the closure of the emergency room at 7:45 a.m. The remainder of the hospital is open, including a 99-bed skilled nursing facility and rural health clinic, according to Terry Murphy, director of patient services.
As of Thursday morning, there were no acute-care patients in the main hospital, while there were 65 skilled nursing patients, Murphy said.
The entire hospital, including the skilled nursing facility, is scheduled to close by or before June 15. The hospital board of directors voted Monday night to close the hospital because of financial losses of $4.5 million.
The nearest emergency department to Coalinga is Adventist Health in Hanford, which is 40 miles away. The next nearest hospitals – Kaweah Delta Medical Center and Community Regional Medical Center in Fresno – are 60 miles away.
The Coalinga hospital's emergency department had about 700 patients a month, said Daniel Lynch, Fresno County Emergency Medical Services Department director. About 50 emergency patients a month were brought by ambulance, he said.
Coalinga has two ambulances based at the city's fire department that can take people to Hanford or Fresno hospitals, Lynch said. Avenal, a city about 18 miles or 20 minutes away, has two ambulances.