KAISER PERMANENTE: Boosts Services At Richmond Hospital
Citing its "commitment to West Contra Costa County and Richmond," Kaiser Permanente yesterday unveiled plans to transform its "languid Richmond hospital into a full-service facility." The San Francisco Chronicle reports that by next year, the hospital aims to "open its never-used critical care unit, inpatient wards and surgical suites as well as transform its 'standby' emergency room into one that will treat all but trauma patients." Although the emergency room will continue to divert trauma patients to other area hospitals, Art Lathrop, director of Contra Costa emergency medical services, assured that "[t]here's going to be fewer occasions where an ambulance has to go out of the area to take a patient to a more distant hospital." Kaiser and hospital officials alike hailed the "rebirth" as a victory for the community that was hurt last year after the Richmond hospital was forced "to stop admitting patients" to its minimal ER (see past coverage). City Councilwoman Irma Anderson said, "Patients, our clients, in West Contra Costa needed health care. Kaiser's absence was noticeable." Rose Ann DeMoro, executive director of the California Nurses Association "said the hospital would greatly benefit poor residents and people of color who otherwise would have to drive miles to be treated" (Lee, 11/19).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.