Northridge Hospital Medical Center Campus To Close Emergency Department

CAL/AAEM News Service calaaem_news at
Tue Aug 31 21:59:20 PDT 2004

Northridge Hospital Medical Center Campus To Close Emergency Department

August 20, 2004

Northridge Hospital Medical Center on Thursday announced that it is closing its
Sherman Way campus, making it the sixth and largest emergency department
scheduled for closure in Los Angeles County in the past 14 months, the Los
Angeles Times reports. Of the 75,000 patients served annually by the six EDs
slated for closure, the Sherman Way ED served nearly 26,000. Northridge
officials said the closure is necessary because the facility has incurred
"substantial financial losses," partly because of a reduction in reimbursements
for the care of uninsured patients, the Times reports.

"I don't think there's any end to the closures as long as there's no solution
to the uninsured and hospitals treating people without getting paid," Peter
Warren of the California Medical Association said. Other factors that have
"pushed many hospitals over the edge" include new state nurse-to-patient ratio
rules that have required hospitals to expand their staffs and an impending
state deadline for meeting new seismic retrofit regulations, according to the
Times. Health officials say that the closures have caused a "crisis" in
emergency services in the county and that the problem has "spread throughout
California," the Times reports. The state has had 65 ED closures in the past 10
years, despite population growth.

Solutions Sought
Los Angeles Mayor James Hahn asked city council members and Sen. Dianne
Feinstein (D-Calif.) to discuss ways the city or the federal government might
be able to prevent the closure of the Sherman Way campus, according to Deputy
Mayor Renata Simril. She added that officials are considering using city
earthquake repair funds or nurse-retention programs to keep the facility open.

County Supervisor Mike Antonovich has asked the state to cut back on hospital
regulations without providing additional funding to implement the regulations,
the Times reports.

Northridge Hospital To Transfer Patients to Valley Presbyterian
Northridge Hospital plans to transfer many of its Sherman Way campus patients
to Valley Presbyterian Hospital, which is located fewer than two miles from the
facility. Valley Presbyterian CEO Robert Bills said the hospital anticipates
increasing its number of licensed beds from 290 to 380 in coming months. Bills
said, "We know we're going to be able to absorb the additional volume" because
the facility already has "excess capacity."

County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky said, "The sad and incontrovertible fact is
that throughout our region, hospital and emergency room capacity is plummeting,
and the absorption capacity of the rest of the system is being taxed beyond its

Proposition 67
According to the Times, the issue will "come before voters on the November
ballot" when they will be presented with an initiative to provide additional
funds for emergency care. Proposition 67 would impose a 3% surcharge on
telephone bills to fund EDs, trauma centers and health clinics and pay for
physician training and emergency medical equipment (Felch, Los Angeles Times,
8/20). The initiative would not include cellular or business lines (California
Healthline, 8/16).

If approved, Proposition 67 could raise about $150 million per year for
facilities in Los Angeles County, according to Warren (Los Angeles Times,
8/20). Statewide, the measure would generate an estimated $550 million annually
(California Healthline, 8/16).

The ballot title and summary for Proposition 67 is available online at

Source: California Healthline (

Cyrus Shahpar & Brian Potts 
Managing Editors, CAL/AAEM News Service 

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