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Heffernan, Clinicas put brakes on plan to open urgent-care center in shuttered hospital

March 20, 2002|By AARON CLAVERIE

Staff Writer

CALEXICO — Heffernan Memorial Hospital District Trustee Ray Falcon said Clinicas de Salud del Pueblo of Brawley has put the brakes on plans to open an urgent-care center at Calexico's long-shuttered hospital building.

Longtime Clinicas director Louis Lerma stepped down recently. He had been the key contact for Heffernan board members.

Falcon said talks won't likely resume until a new executive director is named.

Clinicas or not, though, Falcon said the hospital district board is still "moving ahead" and looking to rent the building and at the same time trying to build a new hospital.

Monday morning Falcon met with a pair of women who represent a convalescent home. He said the women might be interested in renting the hospital building and turning it into assisted-living quarters.

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Falcon wouldn't say where the women are from.

"They're from out-of-town," he offered.

Remodeling the building could be a prohibitive expense for the organization if it decides to convert the building into a convalescent home.

"Remodeling is going to be expensive," Falcon said.

Falcon was asked if hospital district officials would lobby the city for money to help finance some portion of the remodeling to help rent the building.

"No. We're concentrating on a new hospital. We'll need the city's help for that. Anything we do here we'll do on our own," he said.

Regarding plans for a new hospital, Falcon said he just returned from City Hall, where he had a meeting with a housing consultant who represents a Calexico landowner. Falcon said the talks were interesting but confidential.

At Monday's noontime Heffernan board meeting, Falcon discussed some of the details of those talks with board Chairman Mark Perrone and Trustee Norma Apodaca. Since the discussion concerns land, the three-person board conducted the meeting in executive session.

Trustees Rosie Fernandez and David Ouzan did not attend the meeting.

Earlier in the public session portion of the meeting, Falcon said the district has severed ties with the security company that had provided spot guard duties at the building for $1,000 a month.

Apodaca asked, "What is the reason why?"

Falcon said the company had not prevented numerous incidents of vandalism at the trailer behind the hospital building.

"That trailer has been demolished!" he said.

The new $3,200 alarm system at the hospital should prevent vandalism, according to Perrone.

"The alarm will go off and the police will come," he said.

Plus, the new system should save the district money, Falcon noted.

Instead of paying, $1,000 a month, the district will pay $18 a month after the $3,200 system is paid for.

>> Staff Writer Aaron Claverie can be reached at 337-3419 or claverie7@hotmail.com

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