Emergency ambulance traffic to Doctors Medical Center stopped Thursday at 7 a.m., five days earlier than previously announced.
The hospital had planned to begin re-routing ambulances to other hospitals on Aug. 12 but decided to move up the date due to insufficient staffing at DMC’s emergency room.
Officials say the hospital has been losing staff since Measure C, a parcel tax to address its $18 million annual deficit, failed to garner support from two-thirds of voters. Employees have been leaving DMC in search of stability.
Since then, a group of the region’s top health professionals have been meeting to come up with viable solutions, which includes vastly reducing hospital services.
Contra Costa Emergency Medical Services (EMS) has been working with area hospitals, ambulance providers, and EMS systems in Marin, Solano and Alameda counties to ensure patients re-routed from DMC receive timely care, according to hospital officials.
“We have been working for months to ensure we will be able to meet the 911 transport needs of West County residents,” said Patricia Frost, director of Contra Costa EMS.
The emergency department will remain open for walk-ins and will continue to receive transported nursing home patients, officials said.
Expect more major service reductions to occur Aug. 12. DMC’s STEMI cardiac unit that treats life-threatening heart attack patients will close that day, and the number of inpatient beds at the hospital will be capped at 50 from about 140.