Saturday Press Conference, Sebastopol, Ca. Senior Center
Nurses to Join Assembly member Marc Levine in Call to Stop Closure of Palm Drive Hospital
Assembly member Marc Levine will join with Palm Drive Hospital registered nurses in a press conference Saturday, April 5 to step up opposition to the threatened closure of Palm Drive Hospital in Sebastopol, Ca. north of San Francisco.
The press conference will be held at 11:30 a.m. Saturday at the Sebastopol Senior Center, 167 N. High St.
“Palm Drive Hospital delivers critical health care services to residents in West County and is the only option for this community,” said Marc Levine.
“We must also recognize that the hospital is the largest employer in Sebastopol. The hospital’s continued operations are crucial to the economic vitality of the City and West County as a whole. For these reasons, I am authoring AB 582. This bill will allow Palm Drive Hospital to lower its interests costs. This bill will enable the hospital to live within its budget and to continue providing health care services to the community,” Levine said.
Palm Drive RNs also plan to leaflet community members Sunday at a Sebastopol farmers market at noon, and are asking local residents to join them at the next meeting of the Palm Drive Health Care District Board Monday night, April 6 to voice public opposition to the closure.
Last week the board voted to authorize a Chapter 9 bankruptcy for the hospital as part of a management scheme to shutter the emergency room and then end all acute care inpatient services, steps that the RNs say would abandon scores of western Sonoma County residents and put them at risk.
Monday’s board meeting is at 5:30 p.m. at the Sebastopol Community Church Memorial Hall, 1000 Gravenstein Hwy North in Sebastopol.
In flyers the nurses are disseminating, they cite five major reasons the hospital must remain open:
- Death rates increase when Emergency Rooms close. In 2012, more than 6,800 patients went to the Palm Drive ER, which accounted for 70 percent of all the hospital’s admissions. “Where will these patients go,” the RNs ask.
- In the event of an ER shutdown, all critical care beds will be lost. Hospitals must have both an ER and critical care beds to retain a state license to operate as an acute care facility.
- Without a local hospital, residents of Sebastopol and western Sonoma County will be at greater risk. A full 85 percent of all patient discharges at Palm Drive were patients over 50, 68 percent are over 60 or older.
- Public transportation to other county hospitals is not a viable option. Travel times by public transit takes far longer for patients having to travel to longer distances for care, and there is limited weekend service
- Poor access for rural residents. Many Palm Drive patients come from areas of Western Sonoma County, such as Bodega Bay, Forestville, and Guerneville that are even farther from hospitals in Santa Rosa or Petaluma putting them at even greater risk.