Group Proposes Plan To Keep Open Community Hospital of San Bernardino
Analysts hired by the medical staff of Community Hospital of San Bernardino on Thursday announced a plan to try to keep the 321-bed hospital open, the Los Angeles Times reports. The hospital has been losing about $1 million per month for two years, and it laid off 78 employees and eliminated 147 positions earlier this year. The costs of uncompensated care, higher medical malpractice insurance premiums and increasing labor costs have contributed to the hospital's budget deficit, according to the Times.
The proposal suggests severing ties with the hospital's owner, a subsidiary of Catholic Healthcare West, so that it can operate as an independent not-for-profit hospital. The hospital's physicians have agreed to salary reductions to help raise money to purchase the facility. In addition, the proposal calls on physicians to form a multiple-specialty group to obtain more contracts with private insurance carriers, which would increase the hospital's number of insured patients. Currently, more than 50% of the hospital's patients are uninsured or underinsured.
The hospital's board of directors and CHW representatives are reviewing the proposal.
CHW Vice President Susan Whitten said the hospital operator has never proposed closing the facility but would consider "any viable proposal" to solve its financial problems, including selling it.
Bruce Satzger, president of the hospital, said, "The bottom line is that nobody wants to close the hospital" (Martin, Los Angeles Times, 9/11).