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The Echo

California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

California Lutheran University's Student Newspaper Since 1961

The Echo

Los Robles Hospital faces citations and 86 complaints

Los+Robles+Medical+Center%2C+which+is+owned+by+Hospital+Corporation+America+Healthcare%2C+has+consistently+ranked+above+the+statewide+average+in+number+of+complaints+according+to+the+California+Department+of+Public+Health.+The+statewide+average+number+of+complaints+in+2023+was+32%2C+Los+Robles+faced+86+complaints.
Infographic by Caโ€™ren Franklin โ€“ Digital & Multimedia Editor
Los Robles Medical Center, which is owned by Hospital Corporation America Healthcare, has consistently ranked above the statewide average in number of complaints according to the California Department of Public Health. The statewide average number of complaints in 2023 was 32, Los Robles faced 86 complaints.

Los Robles Medical Center in Thousand Oaks, CA, continues to face state citations due to understaffing and lack of care for patient well-being.

Los Robles Medical Center, owned by Hospital Corporation America Healthcare, has consistently ranked above the statewide average in a number of complaints according to the California Department of Public Health. The statewide average number of complaints in 2023 was 32, and Los Robles faced 86 complaints.

Los Robles has also faced multiple financial citations by the state including fines for failing to meet the state staffing requirements, in addition to two incidents in which surgical equipment was left inside patients.ย 

Corey Clark, nurses union representative for the Service Employees International Union Local 121RN and organizer at Los Robles Medical Center, said HCA is to blame for the number of complaints.

โ€œWhen you look at the number of complaints in Ventura County, year over year, you can see that Los Robles, whose owned by a for profit corporate giant, HCA, which is known for profits, brags about staffing the bottom line, has 30, 40, 50% more complaints just on a day to day basis than other facilities in the Ventura County area,โ€ Clark said.ย 

Clark said these citations begin as complaints filed against the hospital either by staff, patients, patient- families, or other parties. Once these complaints have been through the citation process, state officials may investigate the hospital in person.

โ€œNot only do they have more complaints, they have more substantial complaints, which means the state went in and found a violation,โ€ Clark said.ย ย 

Mary Meador, a nurse at Los Robles Medical Center, said that she herself has filed multiple complaints in addition to knowing nurses who have reported incidents which led to state citations.ย 

According to the California Department of Public Health, Los Robles has been fined for failing to meet the state staffing requirements in previous years.ย 

โ€œThey understaff their hospitals, they don’t give us enough nurses to help care for all the patients that we have and it’s been a problem for years,โ€ Meador said.ย 

Meador said the lack of staffing has negative effects on the hospital’s patients and its staff members; nurses cannot attend to patients quick enough nor have any moment of rest while on shift.ย 

โ€œMost of the time at our hospital we work a little over 12 hours a shift and sometimes the nurses don’t get a break to rest, to stop to eat something, or for the nurses to go to the bathroom or theyโ€™re not allowed to have lunch either,” Meador said. “The understaffing negatively affects the patients and actually the staff too.โ€

The understaffing has had a negative effect on the mental health of the nurses at Los Robles, Clark said.ย 

โ€œYou get into nursing to help people, and when you go to work and you’re not given the tools to do your job to the best of their ability, it really takes a toll on you,โ€ Clark said.ย 

Even though the state issues these citations, Meador does not believe they are doing enough to manage the hospital.ย 

โ€œOne of our biggest challenges is the state has this law to try to keep the hospital following the quote on quote rules, and the state hasn’t been enforcing the law so the hospital has learned they can get away with not staffing appropriately and not meeting the needs of patients appropriately,โ€ Meador said.ย 

The Echo attempted to contact Los Robles Medical Center for an interview. A media relations staff member declined to comment over the phone and did not respond to an email inquiry.ย 

With Los Robles being the closest medical center to Cal Lutheran, students may need to utilize their services in case of emergency.

In an email interview, Director of Health Services at Cal Lutheran Dr. Saul Miller, M.D., said navigating the healthcare system can be a stressful process for a number of reasons.

“Seeking medical care can be nerve-wracking. Most of the time we seek medical care because we are unsure about something (e.g., What is this rash? Do I need an antibiotic for this cough? Why am I getting these headaches?),โ€ Miller said. โ€œIn addition to these concerns, we are also often trying to navigate a healthcare system that is extremely complex with numerous parts (e.g., the scheduling department, the insurance department, the pharmacy, the lab, etc.). Overall, the experience can be very stressful.โ€ย 

Miller also said he urges students to ask questions to their medical providers when receiving care at any hospital or healthcare service.

โ€œAdvocating for yourself, regardless of where you are seeking care, is always important, and the best way to do that, in my opinion, is by asking questions,โ€ Miller said.

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    NadiaMar 26, 2024 at 9:53 am

    Great article Logan. Had experienced LR just last week both in ER for a couple days and one night inpatient with my spouse. Definitely saw signs of understaffing but overall everyone was nice and attentive when they did come around.

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