PeaceHealth Oregon hospital closes ED ahead of full shutdown

Eugene, Ore.-based PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Medical Center University District closed the doors to its emergency department Dec. 1, with plans to fully shut down its hospital tower in the coming weeks, The Register-Guard reported Dec. 5. 

Eugene residents seeking emergency medical services will now have the option to seek care at PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Medical Center RiverBend, McKenzie-Willamette Medical Center or PeaceHealth Cottage Grove Community Medical Center.

A comprehensive closure was announced in August, with Vancouver, Wash.-based PeaceHealth standing by its choice despite community protests, according to the report.

"The closure of the university district is an important issue, but there are a lot of people that think this is a lot worse than it really is," Eugene City Council member Alan Zelenka, said during a recent meeting. "It looks like a big hospital, but it really was pretty minimal services there."

Mike Caven, Fire Chief of Eugene Springfield, told the publication the hospital's closure will lead to a spike in patient ambulance transportation needs.

State Rep. Nancy Nathanson is helping the city draft a bill to provide emergency funding from the state, but if that does not pan out, Mr. Caven told the publication he is hopeful a new billing system could help EMS workers cut down the financial cost of "wall time," referring to the period counted from when patients are offloaded from an ambulance and admitted to a hospital.

The University District hospital tower will also relocate its only remaining inpatient rehabilitation unit Dec. 15 to PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Medical Center at RiverBend.

"Following the closure of the emergency department at University District in Eugene, we were able to shift a significant amount of staff over to our RiverBend emergency department, a few miles away in Springfield," PeaceHealth said in a statement shared with Becker's. "Our focus now is on using this increased staffing to develop new processes that will reduce both wall times and lobby wait times at RiverBend."

The inpatient behavioral health unit and the PeaceHealth Medical Group building, which houses physicians' offices, lab and imaging services, and a new University District Urgent Care clinic will remain in the area. The clinic offers services for non-immediate illness and injuries. 



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