Santa Clara County Approves Contract With San Jose Hospital for Trauma Services
The Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday voted unanimously to approve a contract with Regional Medical Center of San Jose and designate Regional a trauma center, the San Jose Mercury News reports. Under the contract, which county and hospital officials agreed to on Friday, Regional can begin accepting walk-in trauma patients at noon Wednesday.
Ambulances and helicopters can begin transporting trauma patients to Regional once the county makes arrangements with its 911 and paramedic service (Woolfolk, San Jose Mercury News, 5/25). According to Bruce Lee, the county's emergency medical system administrator, it will take 30 days for the county's 911 dispatch and paramedics systems to be reconfigured to allow ambulances to deliver patients to Regional. He expects ambulances to begin delivering patients to Regional between June 22 and 24.
The contract requires Regional to give six months' notice if it plans to close the trauma center, twice the advanced notice state law requires. Under the terms of the contract, Regional must provide a $10 million bond to secure the pledge.
Regional last month met trauma center requirements and said it would withdraw its application and lay off emergency workers if the county did not authorize it as a trauma center by the end of May.
Regional officials "had accused the county of holding community trauma care hostage, citing the county's anger over San Jose Medical Center's closure," the Mercury News reports. Regional officials said county supervisors sought contract requirements not included in other trauma centers' contracts because of concern that Regional also would close (Woolfolk, San Jose Mercury News, 5/21).
Santa Clara County and Regional rose "above the temptation to play politics" and reached a "reasonable" agreement to open a trauma center, a Mercury News editorial states. Besides "promising swifter treatment for victims of violence, accidents and extreme medical emergencies," the trauma center at Regional will help the hospital "be profitable" and improve "the chances that it can stay open long term to meet the needs of San Jose's east side," according to the editorial (San Jose Mercury News, 5/24).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.