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Thursday, May 30, 2024
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Health Care—Hospitals to implement cutbacks; lay off 50 staff



Sharp Breaks Ground on Chula Vista Facility

Palomar Pomerado Health System officials said they will lay off about 50 people, and cut working hours and programs to curb a $12 million annual loss in operations.

On Nov. 30, the board decided in a 6-0 vote to apply cost-cutting measures after the two-hospital system said it lost $4.3 million in operating costs from July through October.

Gerald Bracht, administrator at the 333-bed Palomar Medical Center in Escondido, said the hospital will lay off 40 workers in “ancillary services.”

That could mean lab workers, respiratory service personnel, clerical workers and other non-nursing positions, he said.

John Nilsson, the district’s chief financial officer, said both hospitals will cut back on hiring outside nurses and reduce the working hours of staff nurses.

He said patient care will not be affected by the cutbacks.

“No full-time patient care nurses will be laid off, but their overtime will be reduced,” Nilsson said.

The plan also calls for cutting programs, including Palomar’s trauma unit and some of their skilled nursing facilities.

Nilsson said the trauma unit may need to be eliminated altogether if cost-cutting measures don’t prove successful.

Bracht said Palomar is also looking to “standardize variations in clinical practice.”

That is, standardize how doctors practice medicine and how the hospital buys supplies, he said.

Instead of buying various types of products, including implants or pacemakers, they may decide to buy only one type. This would allow the hospital to negotiate a better price, he said.

“Variation in care can be costly, because every doctor practices differently,” Bracht said.

He conceded that some doctors may balk at the idea of providing “one-for-all” implants or pacemakers to different patients.

But, he said, it has yet to be proven that differences are justified.

“A pacemaker is a pacemaker,” Bracht said.

Marcia Jackson, vice president of planning, marketing and business development at the 199-bed Pomerado Hospital in Poway, said it will lay off 10 people.

In addition, 20 job openings will not be filled, Jackson added.

Pomerado has a total of 745 employees, she said. Palomar has 1,582 full- and part-time employees, Bracht said.

Nilsson said the goal of the hospital district is to break even by the fourth quarter ending June 30, 2001.

– – –

Child Care Organization: A husband- and-wife team hope their newly founded Internet organization, the California Association of Childcare Providers, will give child care providers a voice with state legislators.

Consultants Vicki Shannon-Atkin and Boyd Atkin, located in Chico, announced the debut of their organization Dec. 6.

For more information, check out (www. ChildcareAssociation.com).

New Medical Center: Sharp Chula Vista broke ground for a new 50,000-square-foot facility at 751 Medical Center Court.

The center will offer outpatient surgery, imaging services and house doctors’ offices.

It will open sometime in the summer of 2001.

Send health care news to Webb at mwebb@sdbj.com.

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