Business · Fresno

Community beats the clock, restores trauma coverage before EMS deadline

Up against a Friday deadline to restore neurosurgical trauma coverage or lose its Level 1 trauma center status, Community Regional Medical Center (CRMC) has pulled through just in time. 

The downtown Fresno hospital announced Thursday that two new neurosurgeons will begin seeing patients Friday. 

Michelle Von Tersch, Senior Vice President of Communications and Legislative Affairs for Community Medical Centers (CMC), said the hospital notified Central California Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Director Dan Lynch that coverage will be restored Friday and all trauma services will continue into the future. 

Lynch confirmed to The Sun Thursday that CRMC has secured enough staffing to resume the appropriate neurosurgical trauma coverage, meaning the Level 1 trauma center designation is safe. 

Earlier in the week, Lynch and Fresno County Interim Health Officer Dr. Rais Vohra notified CRMC that the Level 1 status would be removed if coverage was not restored by Friday at 5 p.m. 

CRMC has lacked neurosurgical trauma coverage since Sep. 2, after a contract between CMC and the Central California Faculty Medical Group (CCFMG) expired. That contract was for 28 physicians employed by CCFMG to practice at CRMC, which included six neurosurgical doctors. 

To maintain Level 1 trauma center status, CRMC needs to provide 24 hour on-call neurosurgical trauma coverage. 

With the two locum physicians from out of the area now at CRMC to provide the necessary coverage, the hospital has found a temporary solution to the problem. CMC and CCFMG have not agreed to a new contract yet, and the hospital has not announced a new long-term agreement with other neurosurgical physicians to provide permanent coverage. 

Daniel Gligich
Daniel Gligich is a reporter for The San Joaquin Valley Sun, focusing on Fresno State Athletics and the southern San Joaquin Valley. Email him at daniel.gligich@sjvsun.com.