California hospital at risk of losing level 1 trauma status

Community Regional Medical Center in Fresno, Calif., is slated to lose its status as a level 1 trauma center Sept. 2, reports The San Joaquin Valley Sun.

To maintain this designation, the hospital must offer 24-hour neurosurgical trauma care. While six physicians with the Central California Faculty Medical Group provided this coverage for the medical center, their contract expired Sept. 1. In total, the contract funded 28 physicians in 12 specialties at the hospital. 

The medical group is still in negotiations with Community Medical Centers, which owns the hospital, to sign a new contract for trauma care. James Davis, MD, the hospital's chief of trauma, claims negotiations have stalled because the system has not presented a complete contract for the medical group to look over line by line.

In a Sept. 1 statement to The Sun, the medical center said it is still working to reach an agreement. 

"Our commitment to supporting outpatient specialty care clinics that depend on supplemental CMC funding has not waivered," said Michelle Von Tersch, the medical center's senior vice president for communications and legislative affairs. "In fact, we signed new agreements with CCFMG for additional inpatient services last week. We are earnestly working through the remaining details with CCFMG to ensure the necessary agreements are in place to continue the outpatient clinic support we provide."

If the medical center loses its level 1 trauma status, people with head injuries, which account for more than half of the hospital's trauma patients, would have to seek care elsewhere, according to Dr. Davis.

More articles on integration and physician issues:
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UC San Diego faced 'serious morale problems' among physicians before targeted changes, report finds 

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