The community hospital in Garberville is turning to the community for help

GARBERVILLE, Calif. (KIEM)- The SoHum Health Foundation is launching a campaign to save the community hospital in Garberville and to build a new one to make sure Southern Humboldt residents have access to health services.

Jerold Phelps Community Hospital in Garberville does not meet the state’s earthquake guidelines. So, a new hospital needs to be built.

“First off, the state has a seismic requirement and so if we do not build a new hospital, we will have to shut down because of the 2030 seismic guidelines,” said Matt Rees, CEO of the Southern Humboldt Community Healthcare District.   

If this were to happen, there would no longer be a hospital within a 120-mile stretch of Highway 101 from Willits to Fortuna.

“So if you live out in Shelter Cove, it’s a 40-minute drive just to get to Garberville and then you would have another 45 to 50-minute drive up to Fortuna and so you’re an hour and a half or two hours out when something does happen,” said Rees. “So, having a hospital here really makes a difference for those people that live outside of this community.”      

The new building will cost roughly $40 million and the government offers a loan for the construction cost but requires a 10-percent down payment to show strong community support for the loan to be approved.

“We’re raising the money right now for that down payment which is going to be $4 million and we’ve already raised $2.65 million towards that goal, we’ve already purchased the property where the new hospital will be built,” said Chelsea Brown, Development Director for the Southern Humboldt Community Healthcare District. “So, we are turning to the community now to raise the rest of that money and that will allow us to get the loan to be able to get the rest of the money needed to build the hospital.”

If you want to donate or volunteer to help build the new hospital click here.