LA HABRA: Local Hospital Closes For Good
MedPartners Inc. closed down the La Habra community's local hospital Friday, the Friendly Hills Regional Medical Center, much to the chagrin of "angry community members who stood vigil outside ... throughout the day to protest its closure," the Los Angeles Times reports. MedPartners announced the closure five weeks ago. The hospital had been losing money, and less than 30% of its beds were filled for the fiscal year ending Sept. 30. The facility "had stopped admitting patients more than a week ago, and paramedics had not transported a patient to the emergency room for about five days." Patients requiring ongoing care were transferred to nearby Whittier Hospital Medical Center and Placentia Linda Community Hospital. While Friendly Hills is the only hospital in the immediate vicinity, emergency medical personnel said "the next-closest hospitals -- St. Jude Hospital in Fullerton, 3.5 miles away, or Brea Community Hospital, 1.5 miles away -- are able to handle the emergency cases." Orange County Director of Emergency Medical Services Dr. Bruce Haynes said the change would only amount to "a few more minutes" of travel. The hospital was also used to prepare food for the local Meals on Wheels program, but the organization "found a new kitchen at a nursing home, Integrated Health Services at Park Regency in La Habra."
Indicative Of A Larger Problem?
Dr. Martin Rice, the hospital's CEO, said, "The health care environment is such that we have too many hospital beds in California." Susan Freeze, who organized the anti-MedPartners demonstration outside the hospital, said, "We're just ticked off ... We know it's not anyone's fault, that it's just a business decision, but it's hurting us, the community" (Dodson/Cruz, 5/16).