Alameda County to Transfer Long Term Care Patients to Private Nursing Homes
Cuts in state reimbursement rates have prompted the Alameda County Medical Center to plan the transfer of 16 "seriously ill long term patients" from its Fairmont Hospital campus to a private nursing home, the Contra Costa Times reports. The patients' family members and other advocates are protesting the transfer, saying it is an "unneeded and dangerous move." All of the patients require respirators or ventilators. However, because the patients are in stable condition, the state Department of Health Services determined that the reimbursement rate should be cut to $245 per day for each patient, down from the current rate of more than $540 per day per patient. Jenny Alexich, spokesperson for the medical center, said that the hospital could not afford to keep the patients at the lower rates. Seaton Rehabilitation Hospital agreed to take the patients at the lower rate. Pat McGinnis, executive director of California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform, said the county is "dumping" the patients after receiving "a hell of a lot of money for a long time." McGinnis added that transferring patients who require breathing machines is "really dangerous." However, Dr. Roger Peeks, the center's medical director, said, "I don't know why moving people from one area to another would put them at increased risk" (Peele, Contra Costa Times, 3/28).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.