State and county health officials in Duarte, Calif., have launched an investigation into the abrupt closure of Santa Teresita Hospital following enactment of California's landmark nurse staffing law Jan. 1.
The 213-bed hospital ended acute-care and emergency room operations Jan. 9 after giving a two-day notice, saying it could not afford to comply with the new nurse-to-patient staffing ratios. State law requires hospitals to give 90 days' notice and to hold a community meeting before closing.
According to the San Gabriel Valley (Calif.) Tribune, health officials also received complaints from some nurses at Santa Teresita, who alleged no pediatricians were on duty or on call in the obstetrics unit for about 10 births in November and December.
Two days before the hospital's closure, the California Nurses Association launched a statewide campaign to enforce the new ratios by assigning nurse monitors to every hospital unit to watch for violations. At deadline, hospital officials were unavailable for comment.