Summer of 2007: Alameda Hospital threatens County EMS

Just got a batch of Alameda Hospital and County EMS communications (letters, emails) from the county.  From this limited document set it looks like this: over the last decade, as emergency medicine improves, the county changes the EMS protocols to match, but Alameda Hospital can’t compete with off-island hospitals that provide state of the art technologies, disease experts, and specialized emergency teams/systems. Regardless, Alameda Hospital will have none of it (losing their revenue sources) if they can help it:

1. the stroke and cardiac transport preferences were in place prior to 2007

2. somewhere prior to the summer of 2007—anyone have dates/facts?—the county changed their cardiac transport protocols, appropriately removing Alameda Hospital from the list of facilities receiving the acute cases, and requiring acute cases go to cardiac centers

3. during the summer of 2007, the county changed their stroke transport protocols to require stroke victims be taken to certified stroke centers. Then Alameda Hospital–fearing loss of another source of revenue—sent a letter threatening the county… They basically said ‘enough is enough’, we tolerated you taking the cardiac patients away from us, but we won’t tolerate losing stoke victims, and threatened to sue the county. I’m not sure what then happened, but clearly the county added the transport variance for Alameda Hospital that ensured  stroke victims be delivered first and foremost to Alameda Hospital despite the highly unsound medicine behind that policy.

In 2002, 3/4 of all ambulance rides in our city went to Alameda Hospital. I wonder what percent that dropped when the cardiac protocol changed?  And what percent it would have dropped with the stroke protocol change?

If it was that threatening to the financial survival of the hospital, don’t you think it would have made sense to adapt the hospital to what services they can best offer us? Rather than ensure substandard emergency care in the event of strokes?  Sheesh.  People, I know it’s not a easy thing for the hospital to repurpose itself and for Alamedans to accept a different healthcare program other than ‘their hospital’, but this is just wrong.  So wrong.

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About Denise Lai

Alive. Swim (fly is the best). Walking with my dog (weims are the best). Life is good. Would prefer people understood negative externalities and prevented themselves from creating them. Feeling the love anyway. View all posts by Denise Lai

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