From the L.A. Times:
By Stephanie Chavez, Times Staff Writer
"Santa Teresita Hospital in Duarte is shutting down its emergency room and acute-care facility today, closures that officials blame in part on the state's nursing shortage.
The hospital's 177-bed skilled nursing facility, outpatient surgery center and fertility clinic will remain open, said Sister Michelle Clines, chairwoman of the hospital's board of directors.
The hospital had slowly cut back on its acute-care beds, from a high of 150 in 1987 to fewer than 40 last year. Santa Teresita's emergency room saw about 12,000 patients a year who were not brought in by paramedics in ambulances and approximately 1,700 brought in by paramedics.
The closing of Santa Teresita's emergency room further strains the county's emergency medical services system. More than a year ago, St. Luke Medical Center in northeast Pasadena closed its doors.
"Every ER that closes in L.A. County puts greater pressure on our system, which is already overwhelmed," said Carol Gunter, acting director of the Los Angeles County Emergency Medical Services Agency.
At Methodist Hospital in Arcadia, about five miles south and the closest hospital to Santa Teresita, officials are preparing for a 25% increase in emergency room patients. "It will mean about one more person an hour, about 24 more patients a day," said Lynn Ingram, a spokeswoman for Methodist Hospital.
She said the hospital had been talking to members of the nursing staff at Santa Teresita in the hopes of hiring them.
Santa Teresita was founded in 1930 as a tuberculosis sanatorium by the Carmelite Sisters of the Most Sacred Heart. It became a fully accredited hospital in 1956, and its campus covered 14 acres in Duarte.
Many of its nurses have worked at Santa Teresita for 10 to 30 years because they are committed to working for a Catholic hospital, said the nursing supervisor, Mark Cline.
Although Sister Clines did not have figures on layoffs, she said many of the hospital's 475 employees would stay on because most of its operations are linked with its skilled nursing facility and other clinics. "
This may only be the beginning. The CEO was just on the news stating the new ration law is to blame.
<California Hospital Closes "Due to Ratio Law">
No big surprise there. Its one of the industry's tactics to reverse the staffing ratio law by creating public panic. Hospital and healthcare corps (like Tenet) in California are conducting seminars all over the state to train hospital executives and management in how to evade and reverse the new staffing ratio law. The tactic you mention is right there in the "playbook" theyre giving out at these seminars. The hospital mentioned in that post is just following the playbook to the "T".
<Hospital industry seminars advise administrators on how to EVADE RN safe staffing ratios
* 'Close beds and cry wolf'
Voluntarily close or downsize beds or units, citing an inability to "find" sufficient RNs to meet the ratios
. The goal is to fan hysteria in hopes of softening public support for the ratios, winning regulatory exemptions to compliance, and generating political support for legislation to repeal or suspend the ratios.
* Delay elective surgeries, declare healthcare "emergencies," - both to force RNs on staff to work more hours and to engage in a PR war to subvert the ratios. To ratchet up public pressure, some hospitals may close units or suspend operations every day, and will meet with legislators to place the blame on the ratio law.
The officials concede that hospitals may, in some cases, have difficulty receiving permission to reopen beds or units that have been temporarily or permanently shut down.
Seminar packets provide:
1. Detailed information on temporary and permanent closures of units and suspensions of beds
2. Sample letter to DHS requesting
3. Sample letter to employees and medical staff announcing
4. Sample press release for participants headlined: "(Facility/System Name) Closes XXXX Unit Because of Lack of Nurses. Despite Recruitment Efforts, Hospital Unable to Hire Enough Nurses to Meet New State Law.">>
And youve just seen the first one to play the game as outlined in the "playbook", but it appears that lots of people (even nurses?) may be suckered into falling for it. You have to wonder what that hospital has been doing since 1999, when the law was first passed, to prepare for the day it would be implemented. If they waited until the last minute to take actions to meet the ratios, its seems THEY - not the law - would be to blame if their facility really had to close.
Full article: http://www.calnurse.org/102103/hospindustry.html
Last edit by -jt on Jan 11, '04
Where will I work?!!!
Are you suggesting that if small ineffictive hospitals close there will be no sick people that require nursing care.
My small hospital closed last year. It was sad. We were like family. I am happily employed. I had absolutely no problem finding work.
Nurses are not dependent on hospitals. You have it backward. They are dependent on us.
Just because you are in a small tight knit work setting does not make it the only desirable one. Life and nursing goes on after closure.
It is a given that these closures are political. Sorry even our dear catholic hospitals are not immune to politics. It is no secret that many CA hospitals have been planning closure to force the issue with the legislature if and when the law became effective.
Poor staffing issues is not justifyable even for tiny religious facilities. Being faith based does not excuse putting staff and patients at risk.
You post seems to suggest that larger hospitals are undesirable places and and will treat nurses worse and pay worse.
How can you even suggest this? The large facilities are the ones that have the $$, technology, and the expertise to care for sicker patients than tiny hospitals. Tiny hospitals like the one you describe must transfer patients because they do not have the equipment, skill, nor knowlege base to provide more than very basic routine care to non complex patients.
I understand the personal sadness. However, this is not ground for keeping this hospital open. It takes more than tear/emoations for safety and efficacy.
P. S. as to your question about pay and benefits. Mine improved greatly.
Last edit by Agnus on Jan 9, '04
Jan 9, '04
In the early 1980s when we also experienced a huge nursing shortage, many hospitals had to close units down because of lack of nurses. They wouldn't run these units if they had no doctors, would they?
I agree that it will be tough for awhile, but in the long run it will be better for patient care, improve working conditions, and attract more nurses into the profession.
We have taken control of our Profession in California and I am very proud!!!
Last edit by fiestynurse on Jan 10, '04