Simi Valley Hospital Replaces Emergency Room Physician Group Effective Immediately
Simi Valley Hospital administrators on Thursday announced that they had hired Marina del Rey-based Janzen, Johnson & Rockwell Emergency Medicine Management Services to provide services in the facility's emergency room beginning Friday, ending the hospital's relationship with Equality Emergency Medical Group, the physician group to which it previously had contracted ER services, the Ventura County Star reports. EEMG physicians were given until 7 a.m. Friday to leave the hospital (Miller, Ventura County Star, 10/3). One week earlier, the board voted not to renew the hospital's relationship with EEMG, whose contract expired in April, and asked the group to remain on staff at the hospital for 30 days to prevent problems in the transition process. The decision stemmed from an investigation of a complaint by the Department of Health Services, that found that Simi Valley refused to admit six uninsured psychiatric patients who needed treatment to stabilize emergency medical conditions, even though the hospital had beds available. Simi Valley, which has submitted a plan of correction, is required to treat any patient within the scope of its services under the federal Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (California Healthline, 10/2). Janzen provides related services for White Memorial and Glendale Adventist medical centers, with which Simi Valley is affiliated.
Some people affiliated with the hospital reacted to the decision with "outrage" and said that giving the doctors less than a day to clean out their offices is "unprofessional," the Star reports. Dr. Michael Vitullo, the medical director for the ER, said, "The pain and personal sadness that all of the physicians have over this series of events cannot be overstated." Margaret Peterson, the hospital's CEO and president, said, "The decision was in the best interest of the hospital," adding, "Anytime you make a change like we are embarking on, it's very difficult for people." Hospital spokesperson Alicia Gonzalez said that the doctors were given such short notice because their attorney indicated to hospital administrators that they might walk out and leave the ER with no doctors. Vitullo denied the claim (Ventura County Star, 10/3).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.