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Sonoma County Hospital Closing Despite Doctors' Efforts To Keep Open

SEBASTOPOL (CBS SF) -- Palm Drive Hospital in Sebastopol, the only hospital in west Sonoma County, is scheduled to close Monday because of declining patient admissions and low reimbursement for treating most of its patients.

The Palm Drive Health Care District's board of directors voted April 7 to close the hospital.

"It is our intent, however, to develop new outpatient services, and more information on those services will be shared over the next few months," the board said in a letter to the public.

Outpatient lab services closed earlier this month. Inpatient beds, physical therapy, radiology, outpatient surgery and wound care services were closing Monday.

"Although we may have only five to 10 patients a day in our beds, and average less than one patient per hour in the emergency department, we need to provide all of the staff and services that a larger, busier hospital provides," board officials said on the hospital's website.

"Fixed costs are just too high for this small volume of patients.  This is compounded by our very close proximity to highly sophisticated acute inpatient services only eight miles away. Sutter is building a new hospital in Santa Rosa that will be closer than Palm Drive to segments of our service area," hospital officials said.

Patients who had appointments scheduled for dates past Monday will be contacted and assisted in rescheduling with another provider. People with inquiries about their medical records at the hospital are encouraged to call (707) 829-4307.

The imminent closure comes despite efforts by a doctors' group and others to keep the hospital open.

Earlier this month, the Palm Drive Health Care Foundation's board pledged $200,000 to support the doctors' group.

Hospital officials said they will be holding stakeholder meetings in the coming weeks to discuss options for the site, including transforming it into an outpatient surgery center.


© Copyright 2014 by CBS San Francisco and Bay City News Service. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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