HCCA/Tulare Regional Medical Center does not agree with the survey report that has garnered the majority of the real estate in today’s Visalia Times-Delta/Tulare Advance-Register. However, the hospital did offer a plan of correction to that report because it is always seeking to improve its procedures and practices and that plan has been fully accepted by the state. That was hardly an admission of any wrongdoing by the hospital. Any speculation by anyone as to the responsibility of any doctors or the hospital for the unfortunate events described in the report are nothing but that – speculation. It is ridiculous and wholly inconsistent with what Tulare’s hospital has done to date to suggest that administration would ever delay implementation of a safety or quality measure (personnel, equipment, or otherwise), especially if there was any concern by any staff member. In fact, the contrary is true. Since HCCA has come on board, Tulare’s hospital has made leaps and bounds in quality improvements and patient safety.
It has now been 3½ years since the Tulare Local Health Care District Board joined with HCCA to take bold action to rescue Tulare’s community hospital. The qualitative and financial turnaround Tulare’s hospital has enjoyed because of HCCA – multiple awards for quality, new service lines, and 3 years of profit – are nothing short of remarkable. Not to mention that HCCA has funneled many millions of its own money to support Tulare’s hospital, a hospital which the community owns, and which no one in their right mind was willing to lend a penny to previously. Unfortunately, the fanatic actions of a small, disgruntled opposition drains vital hospital resources and diverts HCCA from doing much more. It is disappointing to see the constant, decades-long negative narrative and false news – perpetrated by the same disgruntled, irrational group and their self-serving agenda – continue to plague Tulare’s hospital and community. Even more disappointing is that two new board members are promoting this false narrative and directly harming the hospital.
Case in point is the unusually high number of state inspections in the past 18 months. It turns out that these were due to repeated frivolous complaints filed by the very same disgruntled ‘opposition’ group. State regulation mandates that inspectors are to respond to every hospital complaint filed. These complaints yielded no findings or were resolved promptly. That said, you can thank those individuals hell-bent on destroying Tulare’s only public hospital for causing needless tax dollar waste.
The negative narrative and false news are deliberate attempts to demean those associated with Tulare’s hospital. Employees have been openly harassed and bullied and patients deliberately directed away. Tulare as a whole has even fallen victim to the constant negativity. Years of previous hospital mismanagement, self-serving interests and greed have yielded an image of Tulare’s community as “less than”. The disastrous effects of this will be decreased healthcare access and devastating economic ramifications.
This turmoil is nothing new at TRMC. Imagine physicians speaking out against the very organization that set them on a path to success. Or a 10-year Bond Oversight Committee chairman claiming no knowledge of how bond funds were spent. Or a member of the medical executive committee who breaches the sacrosanct peer review confidentiality by speaking to the press. All of these situations are unbelievable, yet are exactly what happened here. Consider also Tulare’s sole pediatric group, for years insisting on being the sole pediatric game in town, who sold its practice to an outside entity without communicating with the hospital and then unexpectedly resigned without warning and with the shortest notice required. The result could have been disastrous had it not been for HCCA’s ability to quickly recruit a new cadre of pediatricians. Today, caring, highly qualified pediatricians, vested in our community and proud to be a part of HCCA/TRMC, welcome newborns at Tulare’s hospital.
Enter HCCA, a progressive company, and TRMC is FINALLY on the brink of securing the future of accessible, high quality healthcare in our community. HCCA is not some outside entity; it is intricately woven into the fabric of Tulare. The majority of its 500-member team live within the hospital district. No one else—no other individual or group—has accomplished or invested more at this hospital than what Team HCCA has in three short years.
Together the community can reverse the negative trajectory that continues to define Tulare’s hospital and Tulare. The next time you hear needless, single-minded negativity about Tulare’s hospital, change the narrative. Remember the actions Team HCCA has taken to ensure Tulare’s only public hospital is on solid footing and poised for continued success.