SANTA ROSA: Trauma Center Decision Lingers, Pushed to December
The battle for trauma center designation continued as Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital and Sutter Medical Center officials "squared off" in a meeting yesterday evening. Memorial administrators stressed favorable medical reviews from independent agencies, modern facilities and the quality of their programs in the presentation. Dr. Loie Sauer, who has operated on trauma patients at both hospitals but who endorses Memorial, said, "(At Sutter) the emergency room is far from the operating room and the helipad and the CAT scan. At Memorial things are more efficient and you enter these areas through back hallways. If there could be designation for two hospitals it would be beneficial but might not be financially reasonable." Sutter took a different approach, emphasizing their "century old commitment" to public health, their new alliance with Kaiser Medical Center and the "can-do" attitude of its staff. Sutter's presentation included slides of doctors and nurses using medical equipment and testimonials from parents whose children had been in Sutter's intensive care units. The Santa Rosa Press Democrat reports that about a dozen Sutter staff members attended the meeting and many cited the change from being the county-operated Community Hospital to lease by the not- for-profit organization Sutter Medical Corp. as improving medical services. Dr. Ted Hard, who works in Sutter's emergency medicine unit, said, "We are asking you to take a look at the people who are here. You can invest in people or hardware and we chose people." Sonoma County Health Services director Mark Kostielney said he would schedule another meeting in December to certify the environmental study that said Sutter was better able to handle ambulance and helicopter traffic. He also has yet to assemble a panel of trauma experts in November that will update a 7-month old medical review that had given Memorial better ratings (Rose, 10/29).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.