OAKLAND: Community Needs Kaiser Hospital
Writing in Wednesday's Oakland Tribune, California Nurses Association Executive Director Rose Ann DeMoro laments the anticipated closure of Kaiser Permanente's Oakland hospital, which handles 40,000 patient days and 60,000 emergency room visits per year. She notes that in the past 15 years, seven emergency rooms have closed in Alameda County, leaving remaining facilities to cope with heavy patient loads, or even "closures to new patient admissions, especially in busy winter months." When a hospital such as Kaiser closes, more "people turn to our already underfunded and overwhelmed public hospital and community clinics." Even more alarming, "a three-car pileup could overload emergency capacity." She argues that not-for-profit companies like Kaiser "have a responsibility to the community." She concludes: "Kaiser officials have recently made commendable decisions to re-open in Richmond, to open a new hospital in Roseville, and to keep open a hospital in Sacramento. Oakland residents are no less deserving of emergency and hospital services. If Kaiser is unwilling to act, our elected leaders and regulatory agencies should. Before further closures or mergers are approved, there should be an objective analysis of the health and emergency needs of East Bay residents" (6/2). The hospital's closure was recently delayed until at least the end of this year (CHL 5/7).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.