Saturday, March 28, 2015

Doctors Medical Center to close, San Pablo

San Francisco Chronicle/SF Gate/Victoria Colliver, 3/26/15.  "Doctors Medical Center to pull plug next month."

Doctors Medical Center, San Pablo
slated to close 4/21/15. 
"Doctors Medical Center, the cash-strapped public hospital in San Pablo that has been on the brink of closure so many times, is slated to start closing April 21 after its governing board voted to begin the process of shutting it down unless a last-minute proposal can save it.

The West Contra Costa Healthcare District board, which oversees the hospital, made the decision at a special hearing Thursday evening that was packed with employees, patients, residents and others who lauded the hospital’s history of caring for the community, but questioned who would care for patients in the west part of the county in the future.

....  While the threat of closing has loomed since voters rejected a third parcel tax in May, Thursday’s decision actually sets a date and puts the wheels in motion to begin a shutdown that gives the hospital enough money to pay its employees and vendors and meet its financial responsibilities yet still maintains a sliver of hope. Employees would have to receive official notification of the shutdown by April 7.

.... Doctors Medical Center, which has been losing $18 million a year, leaves the 250,000 district residents who live from Vallejo to Berkeley without a full-service hospital, forcing them to seek emergency care at Kaiser Richmond, Alta Bates Medical Center in Berkeley, Martinez’s Contra Costa Regional Medical Center or as far out as John Muir Medical Center in Walnut Creek.

“It’s truly terrible this community doesn’t have and can’t maintain a full-service hospital,” said Dr. Wendel Brunner, director of public health for Contra Costa County, at the meeting. “But it does not change the reality that this hospital is going to close ... and there’s nothing anyone in this room can do about that.”  Read article.

Related article - San Jose Mercury News/Bay Area News/Robert Rogers, 1/21/15. "San Pablo among investors bidding to save Doctors Medical Center." ....  "The downsizing has helped reduce the hospital's deficit from $1.5 million to $1.1 million monthly, officials said, but the hospital is still projected to run out of money and be unable to meet payroll for its 600-person workforce by March. County health officials have said the situation will grow more dire if DMC, which still accepts emergency patients who self-transport or are brought by others, closes its 25-bed emergency room completely.The beleaguered hospital runs deficits because it serves mostly patients on MediCal and Medicare, which provide low reimbursement rates, and uninsured patients." 

ReferenceDoctors Medical Center, San Pablo, CA. From About: "Doctors Medical Center is a full service, acute care hospital serving the residents of West Contra Costa for over 50 years.  Supported by local taxes, DMC offers a full range of health services and accepts most insurance plans. Doctors Medical Center is owned and operated by the West Contra Costa Healthcare District."

Posted by Kathy Meeh

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