The Lompoc Healthcare District was created as a local government entity in 1946. The critical needs of wounded soldiers coming home from WWII were met. That was over 70 years ago. But managing a hospital in 2017 has become a much more complex challenge.
For years Lompoc hospital has been unable to come close to the quality of care provided by neighboring hospitals. LVMC’s poor reputation throughout the County is based on a consistent below average performance.
CMS RATES LOMPOC BELOW AVERAGE AMONG U.S. HOSPITALS
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) gathers extensive data about patient care in CMS supported hospitals like Lompoc. The thousands of billing transactions provide CMS with comprehensive details about the treatment and outcome for each patient covered by CMS.
For 2017 CMS rated LVMC below the national average for hospitals.
CMS bracketed LVMC in the lower 15.7% of hospitals nationwide.
At the same time, Cottage hospitals in Santa Barbara and Goleta are rated by CMS in the upper 2.2% of hospitals nationwide. That’s quite a gap.
LOMPOC FIRE DEPT. IN UPPER 7% – LOMPOC HOSPITAL IN LOWER 15.7%
Lompoc citizens should be proud of the Lompoc Fire Department, ranked in the upper 7% of fire departments nationwide. That’s very good.
But Lompoc hospital is ranked in the lower 15.7% of hospitals nationwide. That’s not very good.
HOSPITAL SATISFIED WITH 97% COMPLIANCE
The hospital’s CEO, Jim Raggio, commented in the Lompoc Record that he was happy that just 1 chart out of 33 was found deficient by CMS in February 2017.“1 chart out of 33 is 97 percent compliant. I know when I was in grammar school, high school and college when I got a 97 percent I was pretty happy with it.”
CMS DOESN’T ACCEPT 97% COMPLIANCE WHEN LIVES ARE AT RISK
Hospitals are entrusted with protecting and preserving life. Understandably, state and federal law holds hospitals to high standards, requiring 100% compliance. 97% compliance is unacceptable.
POTENTIALLY FATAL PATHOGENS AIRBORNE IN THE PHARMACY
Extremely serious deficiencies were found by CMS during the February 2017 Validation Survey. The hospital own records showed the hospital was harboring potentially fatal pathogens in its pharmacy. The pathogens were airborne in the pharmacy for a 1-year period. The hospital was negligent by failing to eradicate the dangerous microorganisms. (The Director of the Pharmacy was replaced after the CMS report was issued.)
LVMC got off easy. Paradise Valley Hospital in National City, California, was hit with a $17,500 penalty for a similar violation.
486 AMBULANCE TRIPS TO ANOTHER HOSPITAL IN SANTA BARBARA COUNTY DURING 2016
Lompoc ER provides limited emergency care. In January 2017 a stabbing occurred less than a mile from the hospital at DJ’s Saloon, 724 East Ocean. Yet, the victim had to be taken by ambulance 30 miles to Marian since the doctors and staff at Lompoc are not qualified to treat stabbings. The patient could have been stabbed inside Lompoc hospital and the victim would still have to be taken by ambulance to Marian.
In 2016, Lompoc hospital ordered 486 ambulance trips to take Lompoc hospital patients to other hospitals in Santa Barbara County. What does that tell us?
DIGNITY OR COTTAGE WOULD DO BETTER
If a hospital management team with a better-proven track-record took over, better outcomes would be achieved.
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