The Imperial County Board of Supervisors heard a presentation regarding the status of El Centro Regional Medical Center and the future of its services.
At the meeting, it was the consensus by the Board of Supervisors, Pioneers Memorial Hospital, and El Centro Regional Center that the best way to serve the population was to have both hospitals work closer and consolidate services. In addition, County Board Chairman Ryan Kelley called for a meeting with all medical stakeholders to discuss health issues at a regional level.
The board heard presentations from the leadership of Pioneers and El Centro Regional.
One of the biggest expenditures ECRMC has faced in recent years was the high cost of traveling nurses that come to work at the hospital. According to ECRMC CEO Scott Philips, the hospital spent $18 million on traveling nurses in the last fiscal year.
“Traveling nurses can cost two times a salary of a full-time nurse. Covid was the reason to bring them since the hospital was in dire need of nurses,” said Councilman Tomas Oliva, who is currently the board chairperson of ECRMC.
Oliva gave an overview of the situation and shared also that there were 30 pediatric patients in one year.
“In order to keep the hospital doors open, consolidating with Pioneers was the obvious pretty obvious to us,” Oliva said.
There were 596 births at El Centro Regional, and over 2/3 of those were c-sections.
“We need to seize the moment and work closely with Pioneers, to consolidate, and merge, so we can share services by reducing costs so that we are not making the same expense. By consolidating we would have a higher reimbursement for Medical and have one management team overseeing both campuses. That would allow us to consolidate the medical market,” Oliva stated.
Last November, the El Centro City Council voted to reinforce the governance and financial sustainability of the hospital by voting to resume its original role as the ECRMC Board of Trustees.
Things took a turn on Jan. 14, as the Board accepted the termination notice tendered by Hospital Management Partners (HMP) effective January 29, 2023. HMP’s contract for temporary services for Chief Executive Officer and Chief Financial Officer has been terminated as of the effective date.
Pioneers Memorial Healthcare District (PMHD) and El Centro Regional Medical Center (ECRMC) announced the consolidation of all inpatient Maternal and Child Health Services at PMHD. ECRMC, which has the smaller of the two existing programs, will stop admitting new inpatients for these two services.
Leaders at both hospitals emphasized that the purpose of consolidation services at PMHD will provide the women and children of Imperial County with a unified Maternal and Child program providing high-quality care to new mothers and their babies. In the consolidated program, PMHD will deliver more than 2,500 babies each year.