Board Recommends Closing Mt. Diablo Medical Center Obstetrics Unit
An advisory board to the John Muir/Mt. Diablo Medical System has recommended closing the obstetrics unit at Mt. Diablo Medical Center in Concord by the end of June and moving those services to John Muir Medical Center, the Contra Costa Times reports. System spokesperson Patty Hefner said that the recommendation is based on "continuing financial losses" at Mt. Diablo, "especially" in the obstetrics department. Mt. Diablo lost $20 million last year. Dr. Judith Hartman, an obstetrician at John Muir, said that while the move "offers more assurances" for the "safety and welfare of mothers and babies," she is concerned that John Muir's obstetrics unit may become overcrowded. Ron Leone, who serves on the Mt. Diablo Health Care District and on the John Muir/Mt. Diablo Health System board of directors, said that the move would weaken Mt. Diablo, because the obstetrics unit serves as a gateway for new patients. Kay McVay, president of the California Nurses Association, said that the move "appears to be the first step towards closing Mt. Diablo" and a "subtle way to bust the nurses union" at the health system. John Muir has no contract with the union (Morris, Contra Costa Times, 5/12). Opponents of the move are "urging" area residents to attend an open board meeting on May 24th, the final opportunity to voice objections before the health system board makes its decision in a closed-door meeting on May 30 (Morris, Contra Costa Times, 5/13).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.