Anacapa Hospital Closure Forces Transfer of 60 Patients, Leaves Ventura County with One Psychiatric Facility
Anacapa Hospital in Port Hueneme closed yesterday -- a move that "triggered the emergency transfer" of about 60 patients and left Ventura County with only one free-standing inpatient facility for juvenile drug and psychiatric treatment, the Los Angeles Times reports. Although the county contracted with Anacapa to provide mental health treatment, county officials said that the closure will not "significantly strain" the system. Dr. David Gudeman, director of the county's behavioral health program, said, "Anacapa provided good care and we're sad to see them close. But overall, we probably have adequate capacity" (Chawkins, Los Angeles Times, 3/7). Hospital employees said that they had discharged Anacapa's 22 adult patients or transferred them to other facilities by yesterday afternoon. In addition, Anacapa employees discharged or transferred all but four of the hospitals' 17 juvenile patients. They said that they had to send many juvenile patients home because no facilities were available to take them. Ventura-based Vista del Mar Hospital, the county's only remaining free-standing private psychiatric facility, made "hasty arrangements" to accept nine patients from Anacapa, but the hospital will have to send some patients as far as Los Angeles, Bakersfield or the Bay Area when Vista del Mar has no additional beds. Dr. Robert Carvalho, medical director at Vista del Mar, said, "Very few facilities in the area accept juveniles. The ones that do are very full. People will be put on waiting lists or they will have to go farther from home" (Cavanaugh, Ventura County Star, 3/7).
The closure of Anacapa marks the end of a "long-running financial drama," the Times reports. The hospital has had financial problems for years, but the "crisis heated up" last year when the hospital's rent increased, which sent Anacapa "several million dollars into the red." Charles Morris, the hospital's president and CEO, said that increased costs and reduced reimbursements forced the hospital out of business. "We were caught in the trap of managed care and the health economy," he said, adding, "We tried our best, but we didn't have enough room to turn it around." Anacapa is the latest psychiatric hospital to close as a result of financial problems, following the 1996 closure of Charter Hospital in Thousand Oaks (Los Angeles Times, 3/7).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.