Closure of unit looked upon by hospital as bed expansion, despite community protests.
The Transitional Care Unit at Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital will close for good on June 5, despite protests by the community.
The hospital’s board of directors voted Monday to surrender the unit’s skilled nursing license to add 27 more acute care beds to the hospital, which hospital spokesperson Andee Bogdan said were in critically needed.
“Too often we have patients in the ER that need a hospital bed and there are none available,” she said.
Senior advocate Dr. Gene Dorio said that the hospital’s decision was business-driven and will put patients requiring care after an extended illness or accident at a disadvantage, since they would have to go out of the area for services or contract with an in-home service provider.
Dorio also said that the proximity of medical staff from the hospital to the current TCU helped many patients make a speedier recovery. Now, he worries that patients won’t be seen by their primary physicians very frequently.
“Patients and their caregivers and family members will have use more gas and more traffic when they have to go over the hill for services,” he said. Dorio also expressed concern about the crime rate in the north valley and the dangers faced by those who have to travel for transitional care.
Former TCU employees will be retained by the hospital and modifications to the unit, transforming it into “MedSurg5” are expected to be completed by August.