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August 24, 2010 > Rural California county seeks bailout for hospital

Rural California county seeks bailout for hospital

By Cathy Bussewitz, Associated Press Writer

ALTURAS, Calif. (AP), Aug 21 - Modoc County is wedged into California's far northeastern corner, a land apart from the rest of the nation's most populous state.

The sparsely populated region of lava beds and sagebrush-covered plains is little known to outsiders.

Yet deep financial troubles tied to the county-owned hospital led Modoc County to the steps of the Capitol and to the threshold of bankruptcy.

The Modoc Medical Center has been losing money for more than 15 years. And the county has gone broke trying to keep it open.

Voters are deciding whether to create an additional tax to support the hospital. But residents of the largely Republican county are divided on the issue.

And the county has asked the state for a bailout at a time when the state is trying to plug a $19 billion budget deficit.

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