County-USC Medical Center Rejected Proposal to Train Nurses to Perform Dialysis
Officials at Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center -- where three patients have died in the last 10 months due to a lack of nurses trained to provide emergency dialysis -- in May 2000 "turned down thousands of dollars" to supplement the facility's "chronically understaffed" emergency dialysis unit by training "more specialized" nurses, the Los Angeles Times reports. The proposal, developed by nurses on a labor-management committee concerned about a nursing shortage, would have funneled $240,000 in county funds into a program to train county nurses to perform dialysis. The plan would have earmarked $60,000 to train dialysis nurses and $180,000 recruit additional nurses to substitute for those being "cross-trained." Although County-USC had dialysis equipment on site and a staff of dialysis nurses, hospital administrators, who have "contended in interviews that they were desperately trying to ensure reliable dialysis," rejected the proposal. Last Tuesday, the county Board of Supervisors approved a "similar" plan to allocate $2.5 million for training nurses to perform specialized procedures, such as dialysis (Riccardi/Rohrlich, Los Angeles Times, 7/7).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.