Pennsylvania hospital closure will result in 505 layoffs

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Harrisburg, Pa.-based UPMC Pinnacle will close its hospital in Lancaster, Pa., March 1, and lay off the hospital’s 505 employees.

The health system announced plans in December to close UPMC Pinnacle Lancaster and transition inpatient services to UPMC Pinnacle Lititz (Pa.). The two hospitals are about 7 miles apart.

The transition of inpatient services from the Lancaster hospital to the Lititz hospital will be completed by March. When the Lancaster hospital shuts down, 505 employees will be laid off, according to a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act notice filed by UPMC Pinnacle.

However, some employees may transfer to other UPMC Pinnacle facilities.

“Although employees do not have bumping rights into occupied positions, we do have a number of open positions for which many of the affected individuals would qualify,” Ann H. Gormley, senior vice president of human services for UPMC Pinnacle, wrote in the notice, according to the Central Penn Business Journal. “Employees are being provided notice and are encouraged to apply for vacant UPMC Pinnacle affiliate positions in which to seek a transfer.”



Steward Ohio hospital ups layoffs to 468 as closure looms

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Dallas-based Steward Health Care issued a revised notice Aug. 17 indicating job losses from the pending closure of one of its hospitals in Ohio will affect approximately 80 more people than previously reported, according to the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.

Steward revealed plans last week to close Youngstown-based Northside Regional Medical Center on Sept. 20. The health system initially stated it would lay off all of the facility’s 388 employees, according to a WARN notice filed Aug. 15.

However, a revised WARN notice dated Aug. 17 indicates the closure will affect 468 employees. All hospital workers will be paid through Oct. 14.

Steward acquired Northside Regional and seven other facilities from Franklin, Tenn.-based Community Health Systems last year.

Area healthcare leaders expressed dismay over the planned closure to The Business Journal, but said the move was not entirely unexpected.



491-bed Ohio hospital closes: 5 things to know

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Good Samaritan Hospital, a 491-bed facility in Dayton, Ohio, closed July 23.

Here are five things to know:

1. Dayton-based Premier Health, which owns Good Samaritan Hospital, first announced plans in January to close the facility. Premier said operating two hospitals — Good Samaritan and Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton — within 5 miles of each other had become unsustainable.

2. In June, Premier announced it would close Good Samaritan July 23.

3. One week before Good Samaritan was schedule to shut down, HHS launched an investigation into whether closing the hospital would have a disproportionate effect on African-American residents. Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley publicly called on Premier Health July 17 to not demolish the hospital until after the agency completes its investigation.

4. Premier Health moved forward with the closure of Good Samaritan as scheduled. The hospital shut down its emergency room July 19, and the facility completely closed at 12:01 a.m. on July 23.

5. The closure of Good Samaritan’s ER did not have a significant effect on wait times at local hospitals, according to the Dayton Daily News. Wait times at Miami Valley Hospital and Grandview Hospital in Dayton were 23 minutes and 19 minutes, respectively, on July 22.




Alta Bates emergency center will close, but Sutter Health says not as soon as people think

People exit and enter Alta Bates Medical Center in Berkeley, Calif., on Friday, Feb. 2, 2018. Legislators, city officials and health care professionals will continue their public campaign against the closure of emergency care services at Alta Bates Medical Center, even as its parent organization, Sutter Health, insists it will keep the center open for the next decade, dispelling what it says is misinformation that has circulated about the hospital closing in 2019. (Ray Chavez/Bay Area News Group)

BERKELEY — Hospital services at Alta Bates Medical Center’s Berkeley campus will end, but not as soon as people think, company officials said this week.

In an ongoing debate over the future of emergency services at the campus, legislators, city officials and health care professionals will continue their public campaign against the closure while the hospital’s parent organization Sutter Health insists it will keep the campus open for at least a decade.

Nurses and local leaders will gather for a community forum Saturday on the Ed Roberts campus, calling on Sutter Health to keep Alta Bates open as a full hospital with inpatient and emergency care. Sutter Health, citing a California law that requires hospitals to complete seismic upgrades by 2030, announced in 2016 its plans to move inpatient care and emergency services from the Alta Bates site in Berkeley to an expanded, retrofitted Oakland campus.

This week, Sutter Health released a statement saying the emergency room and inpatient hospital services provided at the Alta Bates campus will remain in Berkeley until they are available in full at the Summit Medical Center campus in Oakland, which could take up to 10 years to build.

The memo was intended to clarify what Sutter Health leaders say is misinformation about the timing of the Alta Bates closure. While many people thought the hospital’s emergency care and inpatient services could close as early as 2019, the organization said this week it will be a decade before that happens.

“The memo is intended to highlight our commitment to community and do this gradually,” said Alta Bates Summit CEO Chuck Prosper by phone on Friday. “The last thing we want to do is create a shock.”

But for many health care workers and community advocates, the memo was not reassuring. They do not want the hospital and emergency room to close at all.

“Even in its own statement, Sutter admitted its plan is not to retain Alta Bates as a full service acute care hospital, and that it fully intends to force patients from Berkeley to Vallejo along the densely populated I-80 corridor to travel even farther to Oakland, further delaying life-saving emergency treatment,” said an email message from organizers from the California Nurses Association and Save Alta Bates Hospital campaign about Saturday’s public forum.

Sutter Health plans to enlarge its Oakland campus with a second building and will build urgent care clinics and outpatient services in Berkeley either at its Alta Bates campus on Ashby Avenue or the Herrick campus on Dwight Way.

Rochelle Pardue-Okimoto, a registered nurse at Alta Bates and El Cerrito’s mayor pro tem, said she’s concerned about the impact on care across hospitals in the area if Alta Bates’ acute care services close. She said her colleagues at hospitals around the East Bay have already seen busier emergency rooms following the closure in 2016 of Doctors Medical Center in San Pablo after years of financial loss. That hospital recorded about 33,000 visits per year, and its closure has left the area between Vallejo and Berkeley with only one hospital — Kaiser Permanente in Richmond.

“If you concentrate all the emergency care in Oakland, it’s just too many people,” Pardue-Okimoto said. “There will be increased wait times.”

According to the most recent data available online from the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development, the Alta Bates campus had 45,336 emergency room visits in 2016.

When asked on Friday about how Sutter Health plans to ensure that people throughout the area can access emergency care, Prosper said he believes that offering more robust outpatient services could help cut down on the number of emergency room visits.

“We believe today that people come to the emergency room often not needing emergency care,” he said. “Some people come for primary care or other services because they do not have other access to medical care.”

He could not specify what percentage of emergency visits include people seeking non-emergency care, but said Sutter Health is interested in finding more information about that as it plans for the future. He also said that the movement of people who seek care is more “fluid” than people might believe, noting that people already “are routinely leaving Berkeley” to go to hospitals in Oakland or elsewhere.

Sutter Health officials have said they have no choice but to eventually close the acute care services at Alta Bates, as almost all of the Berkeley campus cannot be retrofitted to meet new state seismic standards for inpatient hospital care, and rebuilding would be too expensive.

Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguin, who started a task force to discuss the potential impacts of closing Alta Bates said there has been a lack of transparency around the closure of the hospital that makes it difficult to work with Sutter Health on future planning. While Sutter Health executives have said the buildings are not seismically safe, city officials do not know, for example, how much it would cost to retrofit or rebuild them.

“I believe Sutter needs to either save the hospital or sell it,” Arreguin said in an interview Friday. “We cannot make the East Bay a hospital desert.”

He said city officials have met with other hospital operators to discuss options for building another hospital with acute care services. But short of that happening, he hopes Sutter Health will work with the city to develop a plan.

“While it’s reasurring that Sutter said they were not closing next year, they did say they were going to close in 10 years,” Arreguin said. “We are still concerned with Sutter’s plans to close the hospital (at all), which they reaffirmed.”


Los Angeles hospital closes, lays off all 638 employees

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Pacific Alliance Medical Center in Los Angeles, which provided care for more than 150 years, closed Nov. 30.

The hospital, which was originally slated to close Dec. 11, cited the costs of retrofitting its facilities to meet California’s seismic standards as the reason for the closure. The hospital said it lacked a financially responsible way to make the required updates.

“PAMC does not own the land on which our hospital sits, and the owner is unwilling to sell the land to us,” the hospital said in a statement to Becker’s Hospital Review in October. “The hospital building does not meet current California seismic standards, and it is not economically viable for us to invest nearly $100 million to build a hospital on land that we would not own.”

A California Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act notice dated Oct. 9 indicated all 638 of the hospital’s employees would be laid off when the hospital shut down. The hospital confirmed that number in its closure announcement.

In addition to the challenges related to the seismic requirements, Pacific Alliance Medical Center faced a few other major hurdles in the months leading up to its closure. In June, the hospital and its parent company agreed to pay $42 million to resolve allegations they violated the False Claims Act, Anti-Kickback Statute and Stark Law. The companies allegedly had improper financial relationships with certain physicians and billed Medicare and California’s Medicaid program for services provided to patients referred to Pacific Alliance Medical Center. In August, the hospital announced it was recovering from a ransomware attack that compromised the protected health information of 266,123 patients.

93-year-old California hospital to close over inability to meet new seismic standards

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Community Medical Center Long Beach (Calif.), which opened in 1924 and is part of Fountain Valley, Calif.-based MemorialCare Health System, will close in the near future due to the inability to retrofit the hospital to meet California’s seismic standards.

When MemorialCare acquired Community Medical Center Long Beach in 2011, officials knew it had seismic challenges. However, the hospital consulted with seismic experts, structural engineers and architects as part of recent seismic studies, which revealed the fault running below the hospital is larger and more active than previously known, hospital officials said Monday, according to The Grunion. This means the hospital will not meet California’s new earthquake safety requirements for acute care hospitals, which go into effect June 30, 2019.

John Bishop, CEO of the three MemorialCare hospitals in Long Beach, said because the wide fault zone is under the majority of the hospital campus, no work can be done to make the hospital viable, according to the Long Beach Post.

“We are all saddened that the findings were not more encouraging for the future of Community Medical Center Long Beach,” said Mr. Bishop. He said MemorialCare has no choice but to close the hospital. However, he said hospital and city officials will work together on transition plans to meet the needs of the community.

“Nothing involved in this was an elective decision. We had no choice,” Mr. Bishop said. “I’m saddened by this, but I want to assure Long Beach residents MemorialCare continues to be dedicated to providing the healthcare the city needs.”

Mr. Bishop said hospital officials will discuss the matter with city officials to determine how long the hospital and its emergency department will remain open, according to the report.

Tenet to close 232-bed Phoenix hospital

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Dallas-based Tenet Healthcare will close Abrazo Maryvale Campus, a 232-bed hospital in Phoenix, by the end of the year.

The hospital is closing primarily because of dwindling patient volumes, said Frank Molinaro, market CEO for Abrazo Community Health Network, which encompasses six acute care hospitals.

“Over the past several years Abrazo Maryvale has experienced a significant decline in community demand for its services,” said Mr. Molinaro. “The Abrazo Community Health Network’s top priority is delivering high-quality, cost-effective care to residents of the greater Phoenix area, and we are properly allocating our resources to meet our patients’ and our communities’ healthcare needs.”

Although the hospital will remain open until Dec. 18, it will no longer admit patients after Dec. 1. “We will assist patients and their physicians in transitioning their care to other Abrazo Network facilities or the healthcare provider of their choice,” said Mr. Molinaro.

Officials said the closure of Abrazo Maryvale should not impact the community’s access to care, as there are four acute care hospitals and 11 urgent care centers within the 6-mile area surrounding Abrazo Maryvale.

The closure of the hospital will affect around 300 employees. All Abrazo Maryvale employees who are in good standing will receive priority for open positions within Abrazo Community Health Network and its affiliated partners, said Mr. Molinaro.

Tenet, Abrazo Maryvale’s parent company, is exploring a number of strategic options, including the sale of assets, divisions or the entire company. The 77-hospital chain ended the second quarter of this year with a net loss of $56 million, compared to a net loss of $44 million in the same period of the year prior. Tenet will release its earnings for the third quarter in November.