Feb. 28, 2023 — Tulare County Board of Supervisors
Documented by Dani Huerta
What happened: At the Feb. 28 Tulare County Board of Supervisors meeting, a proposal by Chair Townsend was approved 4-1, which will allow for future board meetings to begin with a prayer.
Supervisor Amy Skuklian was the only vote against the county’s legislative prayer program that will allow a prayer to be led by a member of the public selected from a waitlist.
Several members of the public spoke in support of prayer at meetings, while a couple spoke in opposition. The board also received letters from individuals opposed to public prayer.
This item was also listed for discussion during closed session as “anticipated litigation.”
And also: CEO of Kaweah Health Gary Herbst gave a presentation on the status of local hospitals and warned that hospitals in the Central Valley have fewer resources that make it cost more to operate.
Herbst said that hospitals are losing money due to inflation and many local patients who rely on Medicare and Medi-Cal coverage. He said that Kaweah Health has already laid off more than 130 employees, closed a 22-bed skilled nursing unit, and has limited some Medi-Cal surgeries.
“Hospitals are literally on the brink of collapse,” Herbst said.
He said that Kaweah Health lost $12 million dollars in April 2020 and that the hospital was mostly empty from April to June 2020 because of an executive order by the governor. He said that there are currently 23 patients with COVID-19 in the Visalia hospital.
To help the situation, he asked the supervisors to consider a sales tax or parcel tax initiative.
Up next: The Tulare County Board of Supervisors will meet again March 7 at 9 a.m.