Community Memorial Hospital Expands Staff, Services at Clinics in Santa Paula, Fillmore
Community Memorial Hospital in Ventura on Monday will expand its services, staff and hours at medical clinics in Santa Paula and Fillmore in response to the closure last month of Santa Paula Memorial Hospital, the only hospital in the area, the Los Angeles Times reports (Barnes, Los Angeles Times, 1/14). Santa Paula Memorial officials in December announced that the hospital would close for at least six months. Negotiations between the hospital and Ventura County began in June in an effort to make Santa Paula Memorial -- a 49-bed facility that operated the only ER between the cities of Santa Clarita and Ventura -- part of the county health care system to allow the hospital to remain open. However, Santa Paula Memorial and county officials have delayed a meeting to discuss the issue until the hospital, which recently filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, provides additional financial information to the county Board of Supervisors (California Healthline, 12/23). The Community Memorial clinics will offer some of the same services available in ERs, such as treatment for broken bones, wounds and fevers, but officials said that the clinics would not admit patients with life-threatening emergencies, such as major trauma and cardiac problems. "It's not an emergency room. The converse is that 80[%], 90% of patients who come to emergency rooms could be cared for in fully equipped urgent care," Dr. Richard Reisman, medical director of Community Memorial's Centers for Family Health, said (Los Angeles Times, 1/14). Patients who require hospitalization will be transferred to Community Memorial (Wilson, Ventura County Star, 1/13). The clinics' urgent care department will be staffed by physicians and other staff from Santa Paula Memorial. The two clinics also will receive new radiology and lab equipment (Los Angeles Times, 1/14). The Santa Paula clinic's hours of operation will be extended beyond its current regular business hours on weekdays (Ventura County Star, 1/13). It will be open for urgent care from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. on weekdays and from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on weekends and holidays. The Fillmore Clinic would be open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Los Angeles Times, 1/14). Pierre Durand, director of the county Health Care Agency, said the expansion does not affect the county's interest in opening new clinics or potentially reopening Santa Paula Memorial because there is still a need for local emergency medical services and health care that meets the needs of low-income and uninsured residents (Ventura County Star, 1/13).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.