News Release


DATE: May 25, 2006

CONTACT STEVE SCHMIDT AT 619-531-4766 or 619-206-9108


Jacob calls on Tenet officials to ensure that hospital doors, emergency room stay open

La Mesa, CA -The closure of Alvarado Hospital would jeopardize the health and safety of thousands of San Diego County residents, Supervisor Dianne Jacob warned in a letter to Tenet Healthcare Corp. The Dallas-based company is making plans to close or sell the facility under terms of a legal settlement reached with federal prosecutors.

Jacob is adamant that the hospital— one of only two in East County— remains open and continues to provide acute care. She is urging Tenet officials to honor those conditions as part of any future agreement to sell the facility.

“The closure of Alvarado would be disastrous,” Jacob wrote in a letter dated May 24, 2006. “I implore you to put the interests of the residents first, the people who depend on this hospital in life or death situations,” she wrote.
Jacob’s letter included a list of negative impacts to the community should the facility close:

  • Reduced access to care for uninsured and indigent patients in an area where there is no public hospital
  • Elimination of a dedicated 24-hour emergency department for stroke patients
  • Loss of one of the most comprehensive rehabilitation programs in the region
  • Loss of 20 ventilator beds— 50% of available beds in East County in the event of a pandemic flu outbreak
  • Closure of a cardiac program that has received Center of Excellence designation by United Health Care as well as a Bariatric Surgery Center of Excellence, as designated by Blue Cross, Health Net, Aetna and United Resources Network
  • Loss of one of the only skull-based surgical centers in the nation
  • Elimination of approximately 1,000 jobs with a salary contribution of more than $70 million to the local economy, and the loss of more than $5.7 million in tax revenue.

Alvarado Hospital serves residents of ten distinct communities in San Diego and Imperial counties. Its programs include cardiac services, emergency medicine, general surgical services, neuroscience, orthopedics, oncology, rehabilitation, skull base surgery, surgical weight reduction and vascular services. There are 500 physicians affiliated with the hospital.