Closure of Parkview’s Emergency Department Puts Stress on Other Area Facilities
The closure of Riverside-based Parkview Community Hospital's emergency room has caused a "medical emergency" at other area facilities, the Riverside Press-Enterprise reports (Beeman, Riverside Press-Enterprise, 3/20). Parkview closed the emergency room after state and federal officials dropped the hospital from Medicare and Medi-Cal earlier this month over problems related to nursing and pharmacy services, quality assurance and medical staffing that endangered the health of patients. Although officials last week restored Parkview's funding for Medicare and Medicaid, which provide health insurance for 66% of the hospital's patients, Parkview's emergency room has not reopened (California Healthline, 3/18). The Press-Enterprise reports that Parkview's cuts add to the "chronic mismatch" in the local hospital system of limited capacity and growing patient demand. Inland Valley hospital officials say that a shortage of nurses, pharmacists and X-ray technicians has made it difficult for other local emergency rooms to handle the increase in patient volume since Parkview's emergency room closed. At Riverside Community Hospital, some patients have had to wait up to eight hours to receive treatment in the emergency room. As a short-term solution, Riverside Community plans to extend the hours of its express-care clinic and hire more staff members (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 3/20).
The problems at Parkview Community Hospital "reveal just how weak the greater community's health safety net ha[s] become," a Riverside Press-Enterprise editorial states. The Press-Enterprise says when wait times at local emergency rooms reach eight hours and hospitals cannot "find the medical staff they need to expand urgent care, it should be recognized that what the network really need[s is] careful triage, not the surgical removal of an entire hospital" (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 3/22).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.