SCRIPPS MEMORIAL: Hospital Closure Puts Strain on Local ERs
The closure of Scripps Memorial Hospital East County has placed a strain on neighboring hospitals, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. Citing financial losses, the hospital closed its doors on June 5, causing the "displacement of 24,000 El Cajon emergency visits per year." Grossmont Hospital has experienced an increase in its daily average of emergency visits from 130 prior to Scripps Memorial's closing to between 160 and 180 currently. Nearby Alvarado Medical Center has experienced a 12% increase in emergency room visits this July compared to last year. Some hospital workers indicated that the increased patient load is taking a toll on staff and patients. Grossmont ER nurse Julie McCoy said: "The pace definitely has picked up. We're all tired. It's more difficult for the patients. My job at the window is to say who comes in first. Sometimes they are not real happy with the decision." The increased volume has extended waiting times in the emergency rooms at some hospitals, forcing some facilities to go on "bypass" and reroute ambulance patients "not in immediate danger" to the next closest hospital. To accommodate the influx of emergency room patients, some hospitals have increased their staff, Grossmont added one physician shift and five nursing shifts to the emergency room. Local hospital and community clinics are creating a public education program to alert patients with non-emergencies to the availability of services at clinics and doctors' offices (Pierce, 8/7).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.