SHARP HEALTHCARE: Closes Cabrillo Hospital Citing Low Use
"Low patient use and rising layers of red ink have prompted hospital officials to move to close the emergency room and 104-bed acute inpatient unit at Sharp Cabrillo Hospital," the AP/San Francisco Chronicle reports. The parent board of Sharp HealthCare hospitals, the San Diego Hospital Association, last week finalized the decision to shut down the facility in February. Sharp Memorial Hospitals CEO Dan Gross "said analysts have seen an increasing number of empty beds for the last four years and a financial loss that this year will total $4.8 million." Further, Cabrillo sees only about 20 acute care patients on a daily basis, according to Gross (11/6). He added, "We've continuously seen a decline. What it revealed is that people are utilizing other facilities within the surrounding area more than Sharp Cabrillo," such as UCSD Medical Center, Mercy Hospital, Sharp Memorial in Kearny Mesa and Columbia Mission Bay Memorial. Some doctors expressed concern that managed care was causing the closure of small, community hospitals. "I worry that the trend of closing community hospitals and consolidation of large ones will lead to considerable disruption in patient care not to mention physician practice," said Dr. James Knight, a local urologist. The San Diego Union-Tribune reports that Cabrillo's closure means Loma Portal and beach area residents will have to travel several miles for acute or emergency care. Dr. Jeffrey Gordon, an Ocean Beach physician, said he treats "a slew of older patients who have monstrous difficulty getting up to Kearny Mesa for medical care." He predicted that "people are going to suffer." Sharp's Gross noted however "that today, people usually travel greater distances for medical care, and Sharp Memorial is only a 10-minute drive from Cabrillo" (Clark, 11/6). Click here for previous coverage of Sharp HealthCare.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.