Nurses Oppose Closure of Palm Drive Hospital
Shutdown Threatens to Abandon Seniors, Thousands of West Sonoma County Residents, Says California Nurses Association
The California Nurses Association/National Nurses United today condemned the threatened closure of Palm Drive Hospital in Sebastopol saying it threatens to abandon tens of thousands of seniors and western Sonoma County residents to a critical reduction in needed medical care.
Registered nurses who work at the hospital are expected to speak out tonight at a meeting of the Palm Drive Hospital District to voice their protest and outrage and the closure threat.
The closure would have a particularly harmful impact on seniors in western Sonoma County, said CNA. Medicare patients account for nearly 60 percent of all Palm Drive patients, well above the county average of 40 percent for all hospitals in the county.
In contrast to Palm Drive, hospitals in Santa Rosa, where many of the patients would have to travel, typically treat far fewer seniors – just 29 percent of the patients at Sutter Santa Rosa, the onetime county hospital, are Medicare patients, 35 percent at Kaiser Santa Rosa, and 45 percent at Santa Rosa Memorial, according to Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development data.
"Sonoma County RNs decry the proposed closure of Palm drive hospital, a vital safety net facility that cares for the seniors in the community," said Palm Drive RN Marianne Cloonan.
“Closing Palm Drive would put at risk many of these patients, who are typically not as mobile and in a county with inadequate public transportation who will have a much harder time traveling the distance to get to hospitals farther east,” said Deborah Burger, RN, a CNA co-president and western Sonoma County resident.
“A closure would also put at risk other area residents, many of whom live in rural and in some cases remote areas of western Sonoma County. The added travel time could literally mean life or death for some area residents. This is a closure that should be stopped,” Burger said.