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Palm Drive Hospital Closing Today

Costs and declining admissions blamed for the Sebastopol closure.

Credit: Palm Drive Hospital.
Credit: Palm Drive Hospital.
Palm Drive Hospital in Sebastopol, the only hospital in west Sonoma County, is scheduled to close today because of declining patient admissions and low reimbursement for treating most of its patients.

The Palm Drive Health Care District's board of directors voted April 7 to close the hospital.

"It is our intent, however, to develop new outpatient services, and more information on those services will be shared over the next few months," the board said in a letter to the public.

Outpatient lab services closed earlier this month. Inpatient beds, physical therapy, radiology, outpatient surgery and wound care services are closing today.

"Although we may have only five to 10 patients a day in our beds, and average less than one patient per hour in the emergency department, we need to provide all of the staff and services that a larger, busier hospital provides," board officials said on the hospital's website.

"Fixed costs are just too high for this small volume of patients. This is compounded by our very close proximity to highly sophisticated acute inpatient services only eight miles away.

Sutter is building a new hospital in Santa Rosa that will be closer than Palm Drive to segments of our service area," hospital officials said.

Patients who had appointments scheduled for dates past today will be contacted and assisted in rescheduling with another provider.

People with inquiries about their medical records at the hospital are encouraged to call (707) 829-4307.

The imminent closure comes despite efforts by a doctors' group and others to keep the hospital open.

Earlier this month, the Palm Drive Health Care Foundation's board pledged $200,000 to support the doctors' group.

Hospital officials said they will be holding stakeholder meetings in the coming weeks to discuss options for the site, including transforming it into an outpatient surgery center.

For more information, click here: Financial Emergency and Closure of Services Q&A.

--Bay City News
Sparky Henderson June 25, 2014 at 01:09 PM
The District Board says that the Palm Drive Health Care District does not have to operate a hospital and can do pretty much what it wants with your tax dollars. See for yourself. The district's founding charter approved by voters states: "The purpose of the district is to ensure local access to emergency, acute care and other medical services to residents and visitors of the district area." The parcel tax ballot initiative passed by voters states: "To ensure survival of Palm Drive Hospital and access to local emergency, acute care, medical and physician services, and provide for ongoing expenses, repair and improvements to equipment and technology, shall Palm Drive Health Care District repeal its existing tax and levy a special tax of up to $155.00 on each taxable parcel in the District (excluding low value parcels) while assuring independent fiscal oversight and financial accountability?"

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