Long-term care at Mayers Memorial Hospital is under attack once again. The Dec. 13 decision by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in support of Gov. Jerry Brown’s 10 percent cut to Medi-Cal could be devasting to Mayers Memorial Hospital. “We’ve been fighting this war for many years,” said Mayers CEO Matt Rees. “And we’ve won every major battle up until this one. We are appealing this process and not making any major changes.”
He cautions, however, if the 10 percent Medi-Cal cut is upheld, Rees said 116 employees could lose their jobs. The lost payroll is about $3.8 million for 53 percent of the staff that would be laid off.
Rees said it is costing the hospital about $254 per day per patient and Mayers new rate would be $201 reimbursed through Medi-Cal if the court’s latest decision is upheld.
Lost revenue is just one aspect of the recent ruling; patient health is another. Chief Nursing Officer Sherry Wilson said closing the long-term
ficility would mean the 80 patients currently at Mayers would have to find another place to live.
“The problem is the cuts would mean not only cuts for this hospital but it would mean cuts for other nearby long-term care facilities,” she said.
Those patients could possibly be relocated as far south as Los Angeles. Closing the local facility could also prove a hardship to local families.
“Your forcing families to have to deal with their parents that they can’t care for anymore,” Wilson said. “They are coming to us for a reason and if we take away long-term care services those people are going to be left in a very unsafe situation,” she said.
“You also have elderly in the community who don’t have family.” Such a move as relocation to another facility could also prove fatal.
In her research, Wilson said she wanted to find out what relocation would mean to the residents themselves. “There is actually a syndrome called Relocation Stress Syndrome. One facility that transferred out 80 residents (similar in size to Mayers), 37 percent of those patients passed away within six months of being transferred,” Wilson said.
“The transfer caused such things as an increase in dementia, anxiety, weight loss and depression. Residents that were normally very bubbly and happy become very depressed and withdrawn,” she said. “Right now we’re putting together a plan,” Rees said, “working with the California Hospital Association asking for either a rural exemption or total exemption for our facility from these cuts.” He said as the plan develops the hospital will share the progress with those who have already provided their emails to Mayers. He urged others to provide their emails by going to the hospital’s website, www.mayersmemorial.com. “The appeal process could take three months,” Rees said. “If it goes to the Supreme Court for a decision, it could take years.”