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Inglewood Hospital to Close Obstetrics Ward

Centinela says it offers such services at two sites a mile apart and both are underutilized.

January 07, 2006|Rong-Gong Lin II | Times Staff Writer

The obstetrics ward at Centinela Freeman Regional Medical Center Memorial Campus in Inglewood will close Monday as its owners consolidate obstetrical services at a sister hospital a mile away.

The closure will cut costs for the locally owned hospital system, which was bought by an investment firm, physicians and community members from Tenet Healthcare Corp. in 2004, said Cyndee Woelfle, director of business development for the hospital system.

"We have two obstetrics services a mile apart that are both underutilized -- they're both using under half their capacity," she said.

"The community does need care, but we need to be smart and efficient about the way we do it," Woelfle said.

She said Memorial's obstetrics nurses were offered jobs within the hospital system.

The obstetrics services at the Memorial campus, formerly known as the Daniel Freeman Memorial Hospital, will be consolidated at the Centinela campus of the Centinela Freeman Regional Medical Center, also in Inglewood.

But some nurses with the Service Employees International Union and healthcare advocates criticized the move, saying the services are crucial to women in the area.

"This hospital has been a pillar in this community, and this is a travesty," said Sonya Jimmons, a union representative for Service Employees International Union Local 121 RN.

One Memorial nurse said the Centinela campus has limited space in its neonatal intensive care unit, where severely ill newborns are cared for.

That could mean transferring newborns to the Memorial campus, which will keep its neonatal intensive care unit open, said Memorial obstetrics nurse Licet Zama.

"It's a shame.... You [will] have babies who are separated from their moms," said Zama, a 13-year nursing veteran who is leaving the Centinela hospital system for a job at Kaiser Permanente.

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