Hospitals in L.A. County could absorb some patients if King-Harbor closes


 
 

Jack Leonard | | Thursday, June 28, 2007


LOS ANGELES Hospitals in Los Angeles County could absorb patients from Martin Luther King Jr.-Harbor Hospital if the facility closed, but only if more emergency room and critical care beds were added nearby, according to a report released Monday.

The Hospital Assn. of Southern California measured the emergency capacity near King-Harbor and determined that an additional 20 emergency room beds and four critical care beds were needed at hospitals within a 3-mile radius of the facility in Willowbrook, south of Watts. The association issued its report after last week's release of the county's contingency plans in case the public hospital is closed.

"We can make the county's plan work if everyone acknowledges that the capacity needs to increase," said Jim Lott, the association's executive vice president.

Dr. Bruce Chernof, county director of health services, said in the contingency plan that closing King-Harbor would have "an adverse impact on the [emergency care] system and on this medically underserved community."

Lott agreed. He said that even with the extra beds, patients could face delays in getting to hospitals. He noted that if King-Harbor were shut immediately, the county plans to send ambulances to different hospitals on a rotating basis.

"That means that an ambulance will bypass a hospital that is open only because it took the last patient," Lott said. "It will increase waiting times and treatment times."

The number of emergency room visits to be absorbed is less than first thought, Lott said. The report found that since the downsizing of King-Harbor last year, the number of emergency room visits to the facility is expected to fall from 47,000 in 2006 to 25,000 this year.

But Lott cautioned that the county cannot plan for whether walk-in emergency patients near King-Harbor would travel on their own to other hospitals or whether specialized emergency physicians at those hospitals would be willing to treat an influx of indigent patients.

If not, local hospitals could find it difficult to give the type of care that emergency rooms must provide, he said.




Connect: Have a thought or feedback about this? Add your comment now
Related Topics: Industry News

What's Your Take? Comment Now ...

Featured Careers & Jobs in EMS





 

Get JEMS in Your Inbox

 

Fire EMS Blogs


Blogger Browser

Today's Featured Posts

 

EMS Airway Clinic

Innovation & Progress

Follow in the footsteps of these inspirational leaders of EMS.
More >

Multimedia Thumb

Pennsylvania Ambulance Catches Fire

Investigators look into cause of fire.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Stolen Florida Ambulance Back in Service

Rig was stolen from outside of ER.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Ambulance Service Returns to Illinois City

Fire district picks up after ATS Medical Services.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Boston EMS Recruits save Man in Water Rescue

Duo spotted falling man and quickly jumped into action.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Hands On July 2014

Check out the latest products and innovations in JEMS.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

Wounded Veteran Resiliency

Marine is one of many in quality of life study.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

National EMS Memorial Bike Ride 2014

Over 50 riders honor those killed in the line of duty in 2013.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

VividTrac offered by Vivid Medical - EMS Today 2013

VividTrac, affordable high performance video intubation device.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

The AmbuBus®, Bus Stretcher Conversion Kit - EMS Today 2013

AmbuBus®, Bus Stretcher all-hazards preparedness & response tool
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

LMA MAD Nasal™

Needle-free intranasal drug delivery.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Field Bridge Xpress ePCR on iPad, Android, Kindle Fire

Sneak peek of customizable run forms & more.
Watch It >


More Product Videos >