California hospital must provide trauma coverage by Sept. 11 or lose designation

Fresno, Calif.-based Community Regional Medical Center must restore neurosurgical trauma services by  Sept. 11 at 5 p.m. PT to avoid losing its status as a level 1 trauma center, Dan Lynch, director of Fresno County Emergency Medical Services, confirmed to The Fresno Bee.

Michelle Von Tersch, the hospital’s senior vice president for communications and legislative affairs, said CRMC’s trauma status “is not in jeopardy,” as they have a new plan for trauma coverage to meet all status requirements. 

“Two new neurosurgeons are on site today (Thursday) and will begin seeing patients Friday,” Ms. Von Tersch said in a Sept. 10 statement to The Bee. “Fresno County’s emergency director, Dan Lynch, has been notified that all trauma services are continuing, despite some alarming quotes reported in the news.”

The hospital’s trauma services have been interrupted since Sept. 2, forcing CRMC to transfer 21 patients to other hospitals for trauma care as of Sept. 8. 

The disruption is linked to ongoing negotiations between Community Medical Centers, which owns the hospital, and Central California Faculty Medical Group, which employs 28 physicians contracted to work at the hospital. 

Last week, the medical group claimed a contract to provide funding for these physicians expired Sept.1 and said a new contract has not been signed. However, CRMC disputes this claim. 

“The current agreement between CCFMG for neurosurgical call coverage for trauma services remains in place and has not been terminated. It is valid through September 2021,” Ms. Von Tersch told The Bee. “CCFMG informed CMC on September 1 through media reports that it would cease to provide neurosurgical call coverage on September 2 at midnight despite being fully funded through an existing agreement.”

“CCFMG decided to not provide neurosurgical call coverage because CMC and CCFMG have not been successful in coming to terms on agreements unrelated to neurosurgical call coverage for trauma,” she added.

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