UCSF-STANFORD: May Trim Mount Zion Medical Center
UCSF Stanford Health Care officials said yesterday they are "reviewing the future" of Mount Zion Medical Center, fueling speculation that the deficit-saddled system will close the hospital to all but inpatient surgeries and long-term convalescent care, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. "We are beginning to review the potential for structural changes in the way we deliver health care," said UCSF spokesperson Mike Lassiter, pointing to possible "changes in the configuration of services between UCSF Medical Center and Mount Zion." Rumors began swirling among hospital employees yesterday that plans were already underway to shutter the hospital's emergency and surgery departments and convert the facility into a long-term recovery center. Spike Kahn of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees "said that rank and file employees are being told by their supervisors that a closure of Mount Zion's acute care operations was in the works." However, the news comes as a surprise to Sidney Martin, a member of the UCSF Community Task Force. He said he "would be surprised and disappointed if the hospital were downgraded." Even last month, he said, "task force members were told Mount Zion was 'still going to be an acute care hospital.'"
Meanwhile, in Sacramento
At the same time, the Chronicle reports, a bill that would strengthen county control over emergency room closings cleared the Assembly Appropriations Committee "and now faces a close vote on the Assembly floor." Assemblywoman Dion Aroner's (D-Berkeley) bill would allow the state health department to block such closures if the agency decided the move would harm the community (Russell, 5/20).