Earlier today, Doctors Medical Center (DMC) in San Pablo closed and is no longer accepting patients. The hospital, owned and operated by the West Contra Costa Healthcare District, has been running at a deficit of over $18 million per year, and lacked the operating funds to remain open.
The closure of DMC is a loss to all of us in West County and reflects the failure of our federal government to adequately reimburse providers of Medicare and Medi-Cal services. Eighty-percent of Doctors' patients relied on these government plans, and the federal reimbursement rate didn't cover the cost of providing services.
While many of us have fought to get these reimbursements increased, the situation hasn't changed. Hospitals nationwide are closing for the same reason.
Hospitals like Doctors, with few privately insured patients, struggle to be sustainable. Survival is especially hard for stand-alone hospitals, such as Doctors, who aren't part of a larger healthcare system.
For the past decade, I've worked very hard along with many others to keep DMC open. When the hospital filed for bankruptcy in 2006 and was set to close, I advocated for the County to provide funding to keep it open. While we cut the hospital's losses in half and passed a parcel tax in 2011to bring in new revenue, this wasn't enough to stem the operating losses and debt.
for a chronology of Doctors Medical Center.
I understand the frustration that efforts to save the hospital weren't successful. Up until the last minute, many fought to find a viable solution that would keep Doctors open and on sound financial footing.
As DMC's closure became more likely, steps were taken to make sure everyone in West County has health care.
Resources are available.
- Contra Costa Health Services has compiled a detailed West County Health Care Resources Guide (click on link or see below),and a resource website, which includes information in several languages.
- A new urgent care clinic has opened at LifeLong Medical Care, which is located across the street from Doctors, at 2023 Vale Road, San Pablo. The clinic is open noon to 8 p.m., seven days a week. 510-231-9800
- Anyone without private insurance (Kaiser, Blue Cross, etc.) needing health advice is urged to call the County's free Advice Nurse Health Line as a starting point for getting services. The line is 1-877-661-6230, option 1. This service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.