Nurses Hold Public Forum to Save Kaiser Manteca
California Nurses Association Press Release, 10/11/13
Sunday Event to Focus on “Slow Death” of Community Hospital
Registered nurses will host a public forum in Manteca Sunday afternoon to call attention to an escalating reduction of vital patient services at Kaiser Manteca Medical Center, practices they warn are leading to a “slow death” of the critical community hospital.
Kaiser has been steadily closing entire units and eliminating vital services, including maternity, pediatric, cardiology, ultrasound, radiology, and more, forcing patients to travel to Modesto or Stockton for care.
What: Manteca community forum on reduced services at Kaiser Manteca
When: Sunday, Oct. 13 at 4:00 p.m.
Where: First Christian Church, 1125 North Union Road, Manteca
Originally founded as St. Dominic’s Hospital, Kaiser purchased the facility nearly a decade ago and committed to maintain it as a fully functional hospital, a promise the RNs say is eroding.
“I am proud to have served my community for 18 years,” said Ruth Somera, a Kaiser Manteca RN who works with cardiac patients and started with St. Dominic’s in 1995. “I want to continue serving this community well, but it has become more challenging due to the taking away of vital hospital services.”
“Kaiser is breaking its promise to our community,” said Clarice Spann-Reeve, a Kaiser Manteca RN who works in a transitional care unit. “An entire hospital floor has been closed; our emergency room cannot admit many people to the hospital. Every month, hundreds of patients are transferred to Modesto and Stockton against their wishes.”
“Recovery services and long-term care in the sub-acute unit for some of our most seriously ill patients are being denied, and families are being forced to travel very long distances to see their loved ones. This causes serious disruptions in our patients’ continuum of care and unnecessary hardships placed on families. As nurses, we regard this as a crisis for all Manteca area residents,” said Spann-Reeve.
Local firefighters, paramedics, and emergency medical technicians say the surge in transfers by ambulance is having a ripple effect throughout the emergency response system. Emergency response ambulances are tied up transferring patients to and from Modesto, rather than being available for the community’s emergency needs.
Though Kaiser has grown by more than 21,000 new members in Northern California just since June, and made more than $1.2 billion in profits from January through June, an entire hospital floor has been closed in Manteca, greatly reducing the number of hospital beds.
In a flyer to community members, Kaiser RNs ask local residents to “support our efforts to ensure that patients receive the hospital care you deserve when you or your family members are ill.” They invite residents who have been wrongly denied care to email the RNs at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The RNs are also circulating a Patient Bill of Rights, which states: “If we are sick, we have the right to be cared for by RNs. If we are in the emergency room, we have the right to be admitted to the hospital quickly when we need nursing care. We should not be left under observation for 23 hours in the emergency room or any other temporary unit. If we are hospitalized, we have the right to be cared for until we get better. We should not be discharged early and before we have fully recovered. We have the right to receive appropriate care for the severity of our illness in the hospital.”
Services cut from Kaiser Manteca Medical Center include:
- Maternity — Maternity patients transferred to Kaiser Modesto.
- Cardiology — No stress test on treadmill. Limited echocardiogram to diagnose heart problems. Cardiologist moved to Kaiser Modesto.
- Radiology — No ultrasound services after 5:00 p.m., patients who need emergency ultrasound after hours have to be transferred out to other hospitals.
- Orthopedic — No shoulder, knee, and hip replacement services.
- Interventional Radiology — All interventional radiology services transferred to Kaiser Modesto facility.
- Pediatric — Pediatric patients are transferred to far away hospitals.
- Gastrointestinal Services — No colonoscopy and endoscopy for inpatients here in Manteca, GI specialist moved to Kaiser Modesto.
- Closure of Medical Surgical Unit — An entire hospital floor has been closed, greatly reducing the number of hospital beds.
- Gradual Closure of Sub-acute Unit — Kaiser has continued gradual closure of sub-acute unit (2nd floor) since January 2013.
Delay in Emergency Response Times to Local Community:
- Local ambulance companies are occupied in multiple transfers (2,000 during the last nine months) from Kaiser Manteca, leading to delay in response times for real emergencies in the community.
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