El Centro Regional Medical Center will receive almost $500,000 if a federal supplemental appropriations bill passed by the House of Representatives on Wednesday gets Senate and presidential approval.
The money comes from $1 million appropriated for seismic retrofitting at the now defunct Scripps Memorial East Hospital in El Cajon. The money remained unused and was diverted by Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Alpine, to two other hospitals as part of the appropriations bill.
"With the closing of Scripps Memorial in El Cajon last year, health-care facilities in our area have been forced to absorb additional patients with limited resources," Hunter said in a prepared statement. "These federal funds will be allocated for retrofitting requirements, providing these hospitals with the flexibility to use their remaining budget in a manner that will best provide emergency care to those in our community."
The other hospital is Sharp Grossmont Hospital in La Mesa.
Bill Lewis, El Centro Regional director of development, said the money will go toward building the hospital's heliport. He credited county Supervisor Hank Kuiper, a former ECRMC board member, with the idea of going after the unused funds.