City Council updated on progress of Santa Paula Hospital
Santa Paula Hospital (SPH) is gaining, but the reopened facility is not seeing an influx of the non-insured that was largely blamed by the hospital management company, Quorum Health Resources, for the closure and bankruptcy of the former Santa Paula Memorial Hospital (SPMH).By Peggy KellySanta Paula TimesSanta Paula Hospital (SPH) is gaining, but the reopened facility is not seeing an influx of the non-insured that was largely blamed by the hospital management company, Quorum Health Resources, for the closure and bankruptcy of the former Santa Paula Memorial Hospital (SPMH). The hospital was the subject of discussion during the December 17 City Council meeting,City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz noted that the city has “encouraged the hospital to come and visit from time to time,” to keep the Council and community updated on SPH business.SPH Chief Operating Officer Christina Thielst said that the hospital, which closed and declared bankruptcy in December 2003 and was reopened as a satellite campus of the Ventura County Medical Center in July 2006, is seeing a rising patient census. The hospital has welcomed 450 babies, more than 2,100 patients have been admitted, and over 8,700 people have received Emergency Room treatment.“We are now averaging about 950 ER visits a month,” a figure Thielst said closely mirrored projections “at this point in our growth.” Services and surgeries are building, including orthopedic and fracture care: “It’s been a long time in coming, but the equipment is here and the surgeons are ready” for the latter.The hospital is “constantly” adding equipment and staff, and about 50 percent of the latter previously worked at SPMH. Many hospital staffers are river valley residents. A high percentage of patients surveyed have rated care and services as good or excellent in several areas of service.“Santa Paula Hospital accepts all major insurances and public assistance programs,” said Thielst. “Our 2008 goal is 14 daily patients,” although SPH has met and even surpassed that count since it has been open.Thielst said she is often asked what people can do to help the hospital. “The most important thing” is residents throughout the river valley must tell their physicians “that they would like to be treated at Santa Paula Hospital.”Improvements include a security system for newborns and, if baby has to be transferred to Ventura County Medical Center, both mother and child are transferred so they are not separated.Councilman Dr. Gabino Aguirre asked Thielst to define the relationship between VCMC and SPH. Santa Paula Hospital “fits under the license of VCMC similar to clinics all the county... it provides us benefits, an opportunity to better utilize resources using efficiencies of scale,” said Thielst. In addition, the relationship eases patient transfers making them as “easy as transferring a patient from one unit to another” for treatment by highly trained personnel.