Press Release

Nurses and firefighters rally to demand HCA keep Regional Medical Center’s trauma center open

Nurses outside holding signs "Patients First in the Community"

RNs say: HCA’s proposed closure will lead to unnecessary delays and deaths

Registered nurses with California Nurses Association (CNA) who work at HCA’s Regional Medical Center in San Jose, Calif., will join San Jose Firefighters - International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) Local 230 and Santa Clara County Fire Department IAFF Local 1165 to hold rally on Monday, June 24. The firefighters and nurses are demanding that HCA drop its plans to close HCA’s Regional Medical Center’s trauma center, to eliminate its ST-elevation Myocardial Infarction (STEMI) program, and to reduce stroke center services. HCA has said the closures and cuts to these critical life-saving services are scheduled to take effect August 12, 2024.

“When someone has a massive heart attack, or is seriously injured in a car accident, or suffers a stroke, minutes and seconds can mean the difference between life and death,” said Martha Marrero, an emergency room nurse at Regional Medical Center. “We know that HCA’s proposed closure of Regional Medical Center’s trauma and stroke services and cuts to the STEMI center will mean the loss of lives that could be saved if they had access to life-saving care. Research undeniably shows the dire effects such closures have on communities. Nurses are standing together with the community to oppose these closures and cuts.”

“With the closures and cuts at Regional Medical Center, emergency care in San Jose and the surrounding areas will be negatively impacted,” said Corey Condren, a San Jose firefighter and paramedic and member of  IAFF Local 230. “Not only will a massive geographic area, spanning from Alameda County to San Benito County, be without comprehensive stroke, cardiac, and trauma care, but the remaining specialty hospitals will be inundated with the excess patients, slowing treatment for all those needing care. Ambulance transport times will be doubled and tripled, taking crews farther away from their service area as they drive to hospitals farther afield, leaving gaps in the life saving treatment our residents expect and deserve.”

Who: Registered nurses with CNA and San Jose firefighters, and Santa Clara County Fire Department 
What: Rally to demand HCA maintain trauma, stroke, and STEMI services at Regional Medical Center 
When: Monday, June 24, 11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
Where: Intersection of McKee Road and Jose Figueres Avenue, San Jose

Regional Medical Center is part of the Good Samaritan Health Care System owned by HCA, the largest health care system in the country. HCA reported earning over $5.2 billion in profits in 2023. According to HCA’s own financial reports, the Regional Medical Center and Good Samaritan hospital together brought in nearly half a billion dollars from 2018 through 2023.  

“HCA is a giant player in the health care industry, but it seems clear their primary care is profits and not our patients,” said Linda Vences, a registered nurse at Regional Medical Center. “HCA’s proposed cuts to critical services will undoubtedly lead to unnecessary deaths and delays in care, which lead to poorer outcomes. Our community has added hundreds of millions of dollars to the HCA pockets, and this multi-billion dollar corporation is now abandoning our most vulnerable patients without access to the critical life-saving care.”

The proposed closures would disproportionately affect the most vulnerable in San Jose. According to the Santa Clara County Emergency Medical Services Regional Medical Center Specialty Care Reduction Impact Assessment,  22 percent of the neighborhoods within the RMC service area have at least a quarter of the families living below 200 percent of the poverty line. Furthermore, the County found 83 percent of RMC’s patients used Medi-Cal, Medicare or were uninsured, compared to Good Samaritan where 57 percent of its patients used Medi-Cal, Medicare, or were uninsured. 

RMC also has the only comprehensive stroke center in the eastside of Santa Clara County and is the primary destination for one in four stroke patients. RMC serves 65 percent of stroke patients in the county with no insurance

Trauma center closures are correlated with increases in mortality for injured patients.

2014 study found a strong link between closures of trauma centers and an increase in those who experienced a longer drive time to get care. The study authors said the “odds of an in-patient mortality increased by 21 percent.”

Regional is one of two trauma centers in San Jose and receives patients from southern Santa Clara County, as well as San Benito and Santa Cruz Counties. Santa Clara Valley Medical Center (SCVMC) is about an eight mile drive from Regional. Santa Clara County anticipates the closure would increase travel time by 20 to 25 minutes.

SCVMC is not equipped to handle a 65 percent surge in trauma patients. 

In 2019, Regional treated more than 2,400 trauma patients and SCVMC treated more than 3,700. If SCVMC had to absorb those patients, that would mean a 65 percent increase in trauma patients.