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California Briefing / Orange

Psychiatric unit's closure protested

October 03, 2009|Molly Hennessy-Fiske

About three dozen nurses and staff members protested Friday outside UC Irvine Medical Center after hospital officials announced the closure of the facility's 13-bed geriatric psychiatric unit.

UCI had struggled to fill the unit, and officials decided to close it this week because of cost concerns, said hospital spokesman John Murray.

Patients were transferred from the geriatric unit to two larger adult psychiatric units at the hospital, which are licensed to care for 38 patients.

Eight nurses from the geriatric unit were laid off and have been offered lower-ranking jobs for less pay in other parts of the hospital, union representatives said.

Nurses at the protest complained that without the geriatric unit, elderly patients will not receive the same level of specialized care.

-- Molly Hennessy-Fiske

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