OAKLAND: Plan to Close Kaiser Hospital Unpopular
With the anticipated June closure date fast approaching, officials at Kaiser Permanente's Oakland Medical Center heard from nurse and patient advocates Wednesday concerned about the impact on the community's health needs after Kaiser shutters its local emergency room and in-patient care, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. "If Kaiser goes ahead with the closure, we believe many people will fall through the cracks and go without emergency and critical care services, or be dumped on an already overburdened and underfunded health care system," warned Charles Idelson, spokesperson for the California Nurses Association. He noted that the area has "a large low-income and minority and uninsured population. They're choosing to withdraw hospital services here while they have spent money refurbishing hospitals in Walnut Creek and other communities where there is a higher-income population." Kaiser officials assured that patients needing inpatient care -- only about 10% of visits -- will be shuttled to nearby Children's Hospital or Summit Medical Center, both in Oakland, starting on the effective date, which is yet to be announced. "Kaiser physicians will continue to direct and manage their patient care at the community hospitals," said Kaiser spokesperson Kim Nguyen. "For the majority of people, it's going to be services delivered the same way in the same place" (Bowman, 5/6).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.