ORANGE COUNTY: Children’s Hospital To Halve Pediatric Staff
Children's Hospital of Orange County, "still struggling to climb out of debt," will cut "more than half of the pediatricians" at its three outpatient clinics by March 23, the Orange County Register reports (Kowalczyk, 1/28). Dr. Jo Ann Nishimoto, medical director of outpatient services for Children's Hospital, said the decision to lay off 12 of 22 pediatricians "was a business decision. Health care is under attack right now and for us to remain competitive, we have to be more efficient" (AP/Modesto Bee, 1/29).
The "hospital promised that it will continue to treat the mostly low-income patients who make 90,000 visits a year to the clinics in Orange, Anaheim and Santa Ana," the Register reports. But the layoffs will mean that "more children will receive care from nurse practitioners or the 24 residents," or may have to wait longer to see the 10 remaining doctors.
The Register reports that Children's Hospital, the only dedicated children's facility in the county, "suffered when managed health care insurance companies cut payments to hospitals for expensive in-patient care." Children's Hospital released "the equivalent of 83 full-time employees" after losing $15 million in the fiscal year that ended June 30. The hospital named a new CEO, Kimberly Cripe, in September, "who promised to stop the decline in revenues." Now, the "key question for Children's Hospital is 'who are they going to be left with?'" said Sam Roth, Orange County Medical Association spokesperson. "You don't want a brain drain as a result of this," he said (1/28).