Duarte Hospital to Close Its ER
By Stephanie Chavez
Times Staff Writer
January 9, 2004
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.
Jan 10, '04
How unfortunate. So not being from CA, I wonder what kind of hospital this is. Were they fighting the ratios since 1999, until the bitter end on 12.31.03 or did they really put out the effort to hire? Are they pulling a Tenet? I can't help but think that in a large area like LA that there would be ample resources to recruit from, but admittedly, this is only an educated guess. I'd certainly love to hear what some CA nurses have to say about this. Logic also tells me that these type of things result in public favor switching away from the ratios, because the avg person only get to see that another place they get care at is closing, not as a way of hospitals fighting the govt and CNA. I'd love to know what people are saying out there.
Last edit by PMHNP10 on Jan 10, '04
Jan 18, '04
<It would be unusual for the PR dept. not to sent the press release to the paper.
BUT - the hospitals advertise in the paper.>
Yeah I know. My local paper (theres only one) will not print any letters to the editor that are critical of either one of our hospitals. Not only do both hospitals advertise a lot in that paper, but the hospitals administrators of both are on the newspaper's board of directors. Nice catch-22. Hopefully the information is also being sent directly to the city manager and city health deputy.
At Least Its good to see someone in authority thinking & asking why the hospital waited till the last minute to address how it was going to implement the ratios when they knew since 1999 that the day for implementation was coming.
<<..A state law requiring higher nurse-to- patient ratios made it too expensive for the facility to remain open, he said.....
health deputy for Los Angeles County Supervisor Roman said she does not understand how Santa Teresita officials could not have seen the financial crisis coming. ``How can you not know that you're having this problem?'' she said. ``You have to plan to close; you don't just close overnight.''>>
They may not need RNs if this turns into a new statewide trend. If I knew this a week ago, I could have saved myself the $85 it just cost me to renew my California license.
Last edit by -jt on Jan 18, '04