West Side Community Health District | Newman, CA - Est. 1956
West Side Community Hospital, a small, rural general acute care hospital, originally opened in 1937 as a private enterprise. In 1956, the hospital closed due to financial problems. Residents of the community were concerned regarding the lack of emergency and medical care facilities in the immediate area and, as a result, formed a community group to pursue the establishment of a Hospital District to purchase and reopen the hospital.
The matter was brought to the voters of the proposed District for approval in early 1957. The proposal received an overwhelming vote of approval and a board of five members from the designated Hospital District was appointed by the Boards of Supervisors of Merced and Stanislaus counties. West side Community Hospital was purchased by the West Side Community Hospital District and opened on November 18, 1957.
The District receives a tax subsidy from the property owners within the District currently totaling approximately $680,000 annually for capital and operational expenses.
As with many small California rural hospitals, the financial situation of the hospital became untenable. The Board of Directors made several changes to the services provided, including running a sub-acute nursing facility for neurological patients. Unfortunately, those attempts did not work out financially and the hospital was closed in 1993. The Healthcare District continued to operate West Side Community Ambulance service through those hard times and continues to provide that service today.
The District comprises an area of 475 square miles, approximately equally divided between the southwest part of Stanislaus County and the western part of Merced County. The area is rural with the two small incorporated towns of Newman and Gustine four miles apart, making up the majority of the population. Total population of the District is approximately 19,000. The District and ambulance facilities are physically located in an agricultural area on Highway 33 an equal distance between Newman and Gustine. Main industries in the area are construction, manufacturing and agriculture.