'A gut punch': 23 advanced practitioners at California hospital let go after potential status downgrade

Twenty-three advanced practitioners at Community Regional Medical Center in Fresno, Calif., were notified Sept. 1 that they will be let go in 60 days, according to The San Joaquin Valley Sun.

The advanced practitioners are contracted through Central California Faculty Medical Group. James Davis, MD, the hospital's chief of trauma, said the hospital's owner, Community Medical Centers, terminated the providers without providing a reason for the decision. However, CMC released a statement Sept. 2 that said CCFMG sent the termination notices, not CMC.

The terminations come on the heels of Community Regional Medical Center being slated to lose its 24-hour neurosurgical trauma coverage, which would downgrade its status as a level 1 trauma center after a contract with the Central California Faculty Medical Group expired Sept. 1. The contract had funded 28 physicians, including six physicians providing 24-hour neurosurgical trauma coverage at CRMC. The 28 physicians are employed by CCFMG and contracted to work with the medical center. The medical group is still in negotiations with Community Medical Centers, which owns the hospital, to sign a new contract, according to Dr. Davis.

CRMC will maintain its level 1 trauma center status, Central California Emergency Medical Services Director Dan Lynch told the Sun. The hospital is hoping to restore its on-call neurosurgical coverage Sept. 4.

CRMC will still need to transfer patients requiring neurosurgical care, Mr. Lynch said, and Visalia, Calif.-based Kaweah Delta Medical Center has agreed to assist.

"For me, [it] is just a gut punch," Dr. Davis told the Sun. "This is just the last place I ever wanted to be."

"Community Regional's trauma services will continue," CMC President and CEO Craig Castro said in a Sept. 2 statement. "There is no reason to alarm Central Valley residents or our healthcare partners by threatening a change in access to our trauma services at CRMC."

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