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Kaiser imperiling ambulance response?
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Editor, Manteca Bulletin,

As you may or may not know, Kaiser has shut down its third floor at the Manteca hospital. They said it’s not needed for there aren’t enough patients to open it up. 

On Dec 19, 2013 I was feeling cold and out of sorts. My wife, who doesn’t drive had to call our daughter in Tracy to take me to Kaiser’s emergency room. She thought I might have had a stroke so they took me right away. I had a fever of 105 degrees. After a few hours they finally got my fever down to 100. Once I was stable they got me into an ambulance and shipped me off to Modesto Memorial Hospital.

When I asked why they didn’t keep me in our perfectly fine hospital they said that wing was closed. When they took over the hospital it was a fully functional hospital. Now the third floor of the hospital, with its 20 beds, sits vacant. They want to ship every patient out to their hospital in Modesto. At this time it was full so I had to go to Modesto Memorial.

They had to use an ambulance just to ship me down there. What if somebody had an emergency and needed that ambulance at that time? They could be out of luck if all our ambulances were being used for non emergency situations. You may think this is an isolated instance, but last year, they shipped some 1,900 patients down to Modesto each time tying up an emergency ambulance for at least three hours.

I’m not a member of Kaiser, but a disabled veteran. I can use Kaiser for emergencies since there’s no VA around here. I just got a bill from the ambulance company for around $6,900. Does your health plan pay for this? Now Manteca Kaiser has the facilities in place to take care of these patients. I live in Del Web at Woodbridge, a retirement community that the reason a lot of these folks moved here was because they had a Kaiser hospital in Manteca. At that time it was a full service hospital. Another reason for our displeasure with this situation is that some of the spouses can’t drive on the freeway, or can’t drive at night, so when their spouses get shipped down to Modesto they have no way to get there except for friends or family. They have a shuttle, but it only runs between 6:30 a.m. to p.m. If you get sent down there at 7 p.m. and you get stuck down there for more than three hours, you have to find your own way home. So, even though they are not closing down the hospital, they’re limiting what can be done there.

We need Kaiser to keep its word and make Manteca Kaiser a fully functional Hospital again, the way it was when they bought it a few years ago. Please help us change their mind.

Richard J. Paul
Feb. 19, 2014