A patient is moved from Cottage Hospital's existing wings to the new patient pavilions. (February 2012)

Paul Wellman (file)

A patient is moved from Cottage Hospital's existing wings to the new patient pavilions. (February 2012)

Cottage Criticized for Planned Subacute Patient Move

Families Complain of Long Commutes to Visit Loved Ones in Camarillo

Monday, December 16, 2013
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To the displeasure of a group of patients and their families, Cottage Health System administrators announced last week that a long-standing plan to relocate all of Goleta Valley Cottage Hospital’s subacute patients — those with a debilitating injury or illness who require 24/7 care — to Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital has been scrapped. Instead, the 30 subacute patients will be moved to St. John’s Pleasant Valley Hospital in Camarillo, which critics say puts an unfair burden on family members who will have to travel longer distances to see their loved ones. The move is scheduled for early 2015.

For the past two years, patients and their families had been told that Goleta’s subacute wing would be moved to the fourth floor of Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital at the end of a massive retrofit and renovation of the Goleta campus. On December 10, they were notified of the new agreement with St. John’s. According to an internal memo from Cottage CEO Ron Werft to his employees, St. John’s recently expanded its subacute capacity from 38 to 46 beds and, with a donation from Cottage, will be able to expand by an additional 25 to 50 beds.

Though Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital is still a “feasible” home for the subacute wing, Werft wrote, the two-story Ventura County building with easy access to gardens and patios “provides a superior living environment for subacute residents.” In a press release sent out December 11, Cottage spokesperson Maria Zate noted St. John’s also provides “safe thoroughfares for residents and families to navigate the facility and grounds.” Zate explained, “When acute patients move into Goleta’s new acute care hospital, state law prohibits the subacute unit from remaining in the existing hospital building.”

Lompoc resident Carolina Moreno has visited her 28-year-old son Nicolas in Goleta every day for the last three years. (Nicolas overdosed on pain medication prescribed by Dr. Julio “Candy Man” Diaz, now facing federal charges of overprescribing to his patients, 11 of whom suffered fatal overdoses.) Moreno said if Nicolas is moved to Camarillo, she won’t be able to visit him as often. “I was really shocked,” she said of hearing the new plan. “A lot of families are having a lot of anxiety about this,” she said, asking “Who decides all this?” Moreno speculated the decision has more to do with “money and politics” than consideration of patient care.

Moreno met with Cottage administrators this week who reportedly told her the decision has been made and that she should refocus her energy on more positive efforts. She also claimed that a number of Cottage employees are similarly unhappy with the new plan but are afraid to voice their concerns for fear of professional retaliation. “If staff or employees speak out, they’re treated badly,” she said. “I’ve seen it; I’ve heard it. It’s scary.” In his statement, Werft said Cottage will work with employees to “identify opportunities at St. John’s and/or at Cottage Health System in the coming weeks and months.”

Moreno said she and other patients’ families will picket outside Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital this week, attend an informational meeting with Werft on Thursday, and continue soliciting Congressmember Lois Capps for her assistance. “Somebody needs to help us,” she said.


Independent Discussion Guidelines

If these people are paying for this sub-acute care, there are other facilities located close by where they can move their family members.

However if they are not paying for this sub-acute care, unfortunately then "money and politics" do play a role in the ultimate decision were these very expensive care facilities can be located.

All over this state, people are learning the state of California cannot be all things to all people all the time. Except for their own state employees and the growing billions of tax dollars now committed to public employee pensions. This come first, and the public just has to accept this.

Voters ensured this would happen this way. It is now playing out exactly as predicted when the first unsustainable pension promises were made several decades ago.

Present public services are now cut, in order to fund these prior pension promises made to public employees. This shows you how this works. Werft's hands are tied. Best to follow his advice. Put these energies into something more positive.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
December 16, 2013 at 2:28 p.m. (Suggest removal)

@foofighter: There are no other sub acutes nearby. I believe you are thinking of nursing homes which are not sub acute facilities. My son is there also.

maravill (anonymous profile)
December 16, 2013 at 6:10 p.m. (Suggest removal)

I have a brother in Goleta at that Subacute and I am appauld at the idea of this action being taken. My sister-in-law goes to see my brother everyday and has seen a great deal of change in his condition. He recongizes her voice and she has been there for him in every sense of the word. This will be a huge burden on her as well as the other patients families. Please consider the patients and the need for there families to be there for them in there recovery.

widowedmotherof6 (anonymous profile)
December 16, 2013 at 7:33 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Cottage Hospital is now the only game in town.

dolphinpod14 (anonymous profile)
December 16, 2013 at 7:44 p.m. (Suggest removal)

It's not like notice hasn't been given. The move is still over a year away. The beds will likely be needed by patients with more acute illnesses.

Botany (anonymous profile)
December 16, 2013 at 8:15 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Three years in sub-acute means this is now a permanent residence. If this is publicly supported care, there are limits as to location and convenience for this level of public care.

These are the realities today and the massive public debt this state is facing for pension costs means people will be losing every day services and programs up and down this state. Public pensions come first and there is a huge deficit funding those right now.

We just passed more taxes and this barely covers some of the leaks. So please do make the best of this. A public employee getting their full pension somewhere will thank you for your sacrifice.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
December 16, 2013 at 10:40 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Cottage Health System asserts that its mission is, “To provide superior health care through a commitment to our communities and to our core values of excellence, integrity, and compassion.” Camarillo is hardly in Cottage’s “community,” and this decision represents a breach of faith with the residents of the Santa Barbara community who have seen CHS buy its way into a monopoly position. This hardly gives one confidence in the pending Cottage/Sansum merger and the community needs to be very vocal in demanding that Cottage live up to its Mission Statement.

sbacg (anonymous profile)
December 16, 2013 at 11:49 p.m. (Suggest removal)

As a decades long neighbor of Cottage , I have witnessed firsthand their disregard for the community. This is just one more action that shows us that their medical monopoly of Santa Barbara is not a good thing. I have no respect for the Cottage Hospital administrators , who I am convinced are more concerned about slick p.r. and hoarding dollars than the good of the community.

geeber (anonymous profile)
December 17, 2013 at 4:42 a.m. (Suggest removal)

as Cottage approaches near-monopoly here on the south coast -- and agree geeber that moving sub-acute down to Ventura LESSENS all of our medical care options -- do any of you recall the fight to keep St. Francis Hosp. alive?? This is where we end up, and Werft et al. will send out more less-profitable units to Camarillo, Cayucos, and San Luis O.

DrDan (anonymous profile)
December 17, 2013 at 6:42 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Key here is "less profitable". Where is the funding going to come from if you don't like the results. Please be specific.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
December 17, 2013 at 9:06 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Hello everyone please we all need to pray and ask God the Father to help us all with all this mess were in !!!! Please let us all band together and rally for SUBACUTE to stay in Santa Barbara,Some One out there can help us with this CAUSE!!!!!! To keep our love ones to stay here in this beautifull town!!!! please we are all together here to help our love s that can not speak for them self!!! SO please do not turn your back on this people who are helpless, WE really need your help !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Is there any one out there that have the man power and Voices to do something ??????????????????????? please !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

godlovesall315 (anonymous profile)
December 17, 2013 at 12:39 p.m. (Suggest removal)

God doesn't have the money. But since the rich get richer while the rest are pushed down, it seems that profits are the priority. Distract with pensions while the millionaires and billionaires spend their fetish money. Don't forget the military fetish money on war, killing and infrastructure building in other countries. Empire is expensive. Paying the cost, but we ain't the boss.

spacey (anonymous profile)
December 17, 2013 at 1:06 p.m. (Suggest removal)

yes, spacey, and with quantitative easing wealth continues to accumulate at the top. Foo always fixates about the profits and money and materialism. And I thought medicine and hospitals were about healing.

DrDan (anonymous profile)
December 17, 2013 at 1:28 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Oh good, nobody has connected this to Obamacare yet.... This couldn't possibly have ANYTHING to do with Obamacare, afterall it is not mentioned in the article.

Nope, all of the enormous price hikes we are about to see in health care have nothing to do with Obamacare.

loonpt (anonymous profile)
December 17, 2013 at 2:47 p.m. (Suggest removal)

If you confiscated all of the 1%'s wealth, you would still not be able to fund the ongoing public pension obligations. Nice try but you need to come up with a better solution.

There is also that hoary admonition if you equally redistributed all the wealth in the world, in three generations it would be back in the same hands. Your thought for the day.

What is the Obamacare angle? With higher premiums and the need to bank the higher deductibles, there will be even less money for discretionary charitable donations than people are make today.

Home health care starts at home. It is not a right to demand the government provide. It is a privilege available only when and where it can be a sustainable substitute for home care.

Resenting the rich is not going to help this woman with her son. Offering to shift for her at home will.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
December 17, 2013 at 4:38 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Until 8 years ago, I had never heard of the word “subacute”. Unfortunately, due to a tragic accident, I am now well aware. You see, Mr. Werft, my cousin is at your facility in Goleta. He is in a comatose state and has no voice in this matter. His wife visits him almost every single day, and it is approximately 45 miles one way. We have seen progress in his condition, as he has opened his eyes, blinked and even moved his lips for her. So tell me Mr. Werft, what do you think his condition will be when he is suddenly left without her for days? What will the condition be for my family, or the many other families who visit their loved ones every day? There has to be other options to explore, to try and keep this unit in Santa Barbara County. In the blink of an eye, any one of us could be faced with this situation. We are asking for consideration in this matter.

nanaof2 (anonymous profile)
December 17, 2013 at 10:03 p.m. (Suggest removal)

What is the cost of this care so we can get a truer picture of what is at stake if this is right for every person to demand a sub-acute facility be located close to their homes. Is it more cost-effective to provide in-home care assistance to patients in similar needs? What level of insurance was this person carrying prior to this incident.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
December 18, 2013 at 8:49 a.m. (Suggest removal)

"By using these completely legal, but highly unethical, tactics, the super wealthy have stashed away $100 billion in a little over a decade. That amount is enough to pay for every child in our nation to go to preschool for ten years, and it could wipe out the entire first round of sequester cuts."
Nice try, eh foo?

spacey (anonymous profile)
December 18, 2013 at 2:13 p.m. (Suggest removal)

nice try, eh foo, when with typical exaggeration you scrawl, "If you confiscated all of the 1%'s wealth" -- no one wrote or imagined that. The INCREASING rate of INequality in this country makes decisions like moving the sub-acute care out of SB even more difficult for people. Ron Werft needs to rethink this ugly decision.

DrDan (anonymous profile)
December 18, 2013 at 2:35 p.m. (Suggest removal)

There are certainly obvious signs that the wealth distribution in the world is staggered in an unfair manner and in the extreme upper range it does go to predominantly unsavory groups and individuals at the expense of the working class and the poor.

The problem with simply confiscating wealth from the wealthy and giving it to the poor is that many wealthy people are responsible for providing a very large amount of goods and services to society. In other words, if they weren't providing all of those goods and services they would not exist or would exist in much smaller quantities at higher prices. This is where we begin to see how wealthy people can and do make life for the poor and working class much better. The poor and working middle class should be thanking these people for providing all of these great products and services that they are able to enjoy. They shouldn't be taxing them and confiscating their wealth because that would be like getting a Christmas present and then asking the person who gave it to you to give you even more when you have provided them with little or anything in return. What will happen is next year you won't get as big of a Christmas present and you will demand an even bigger percentage from them. This is why our economy continues to stagnate, yet we see a select group of very very rich people becoming even more rich.

So the big question is - how do we separate the wealthy who are responsible for destroying the middle class and the poor by siphoning off everybody's wealth from those who are providing goods and services and helping the poor and working class live at a much higher standard of living? It's actually very easy. First of all, we need an honest monetary policy. Currently the banks can 'print', or counterfeit, money and loan it out at interest. We should work to abolish the Federal Reserve and switch to market based currencies that cannot be counterfeited or easily manipulated by government and their cronies. This system is the biggest siphon of wealth in the history of mankind and is a great place to start reforming. If you want to know more, I am linking to a youtube video below. Government heavily subsidizes many industries and in doing so they take away the market based incentive for production and create their own out of thin air and then give their friends in that industry a whole bunch of money. That is where I would look next.

loonpt (anonymous profile)
December 18, 2013 at 3:49 p.m. (Suggest removal)

5% are rich. 5% are in some form of poverty. 90% are solidly in the middle class. There is no danger of losing the middle class.

The term losing the middle class really t means the public sector unions are worried about losing govenment jobs, benefits, salaries and pensions now that the bloated size of Big Government is finally getting cut.

That is all

foofighter (anonymous profile)
December 18, 2013 at 6:29 p.m. (Suggest removal)

You take 1/2 of the middle class or poor's income: they end up in the street or in poverty. You take 1/2 of the income from the wealthy: they are still wealthy.

spacey (anonymous profile)
December 19, 2013 at 2:03 p.m. (Suggest removal)

spacey it is more complicated than that, I feel like you skipped the majority of my last post. Becoming wealthy requires a series of voluntary contracts between many individuals where you provide those individuals with a good or service which they cannot find cheaper elsewhere. By creating more contracts and producing even more, one not only becomes more wealthy but they are also performing a huge service to all of the individuals receiving those goods and services. By taxing them heavily you actually significantly reduce any incentive they may have to produce more goods and services because as they produce more, more get taken away. This hurts the poor and middle class who depend on these goods and services to be produced so heavy taxation of the wealthy does not just hurt the wealthy it hurts everybody.

Now I was very clear in my last post to separate those who siphon wealth from society and are wealthy from those who create goods and services and benefit society. If there was an easy way for the government to separate them out and tax them, it would be inefficient, but more acceptable than what we have today. Unfortunately however when you group all wealthy people together and tax them all you are going to have major problems with production. Take a look at our current and past trade deficits.

loonpt (anonymous profile)
December 19, 2013 at 3:12 p.m. (Suggest removal)

The successful (aka "rich") are rewarded providing goods or services other people find valuable, and are willing to pay for rather than create them themselves.

Today's question is what value do you offer the Pacific Rim economy so you too can become successful.

foofighter (anonymous profile)
December 19, 2013 at 3:27 p.m. (Suggest removal)

the main reason you're so out of it, foo, is that you equate ["aka"] "the successful" with "the rich". You poor guy.

DrDan (anonymous profile)
December 19, 2013 at 3:32 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Pacific Rim bombed at the box office, not much value to anyone's economy.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
December 19, 2013 at 4:42 p.m. (Suggest removal)

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