Palomar Medical Center Considers Leaving Trauma System
To cut costs, Escondido-based Palomar Medical Center is considering exiting the trauma system, a move that could create difficulty for other area hospitals, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. Sharp Memorial Hospital in Kearny Mesa, Scripps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla and Hillcrest-based Scripps Mercy Hospital and UCSD Medical Center have expressed concern that "it would be difficult for them to absorb more patients" if Palomar withdraws from the system. Scripps Mercy trauma director Dr. Michael Sise said, "We can't afford to have a major hospital like this not participating. It would be a sad day if Palomar pull[ed] out." Palomar Pomerado Health Care District board member Ted Kleiter said the trauma program at Palomar Medical Center is "a very expensive program and no doubt loses a lot of money." Last year, Palomar lost $9.3 million in operations. While the facility's exit is not "certain," hospital administrators will consider a report on the cost of the trauma system at a hospital finance committee meeting Thursday. Palomar's announcement comes as trauma directors at hospitals statewide are asking for a $150 million boost from the state to help pay for "staffing and services." Last fall, several Los Angeles County hospitals threatened to exit the area's trauma system until the county provided $8.5 million in "emergency funds." A CDC report expected to be released next week "calls on the state" to expand and finance trauma systems to "cover every part of the state" (Clark, San Diego Union-Tribune, 1/22).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.