Ventura County Clinics Crisis Petition – 2021
Ventura County’s take-over of the Ventura County Ambulatory Care clinic system has resulted in a dramatic decline in patient access to care and quality of care due to significant staff reductions and lack of supplies and equipment. When the County took over the clinic system in June, many physicians resigned, the County refused to retain or hire many nursing and other support staff, and more are leaving due to the harsh conditions. The remaining doctors, nurses, and support staff are struggling, often unable to provide minimum levels of care required by state law and medical practice standards.
- Conejo Valley: Lost 3 medical assistants, 1 of 2 phlebotomists, and has no COVID-19 screeners, while they are short on supplies for PAP smears, suturing, and children’s vaccines.
- Pediatric Diagnostic Center: Lost 1 RN, and 2 physicians (1 is on leave), leaving 3 physicians to do the work of 5, and only 1.5 RNs to help them.
- West Ventura: Lacking liquid nitrogen, is referring away patients in need of cryotherapy for abnormal cervix cells.
- Las Posas: Lost both OB medical assistants, the CPSP medical assistant, and will lose a mid-level provider; internal medicine MD must see up to 25 patients per day; 15 minutes allowed for each is insufficient to provide proper care.
- Santa Paula: Is down one physician (0.7 FTE).
- Santa Paula West: Pharmacy technician not rehired, forcing the work onto physicians, who are struggling.
- Sierra Vista: Lost 2 physicians, leaving the remaining physicians “drowning” with an unsustainable workload, forcing them to work extra, unpaid hours. It also lost 2 pharmacy technicians, 1 LVN, 1 bookkeeper and an administrator.
- Las Islas North & South: Only 6 of 18 nurses are left. The added loss of medical assistants has led to long wait lines and angry patients. Appointments for lab tests and imaging are not available for weeks. Shortages of medical supplies. Loss of social workers is forcing physicians to address insurance, transportation, and case management needs. Front office got cut from 6 to 3 staff taking nurses and MAs away from patient care. Patients can’t get through on the phone; sometimes there is no phone operator. COVID screeners were removed, and the clinic experienced a COVID-19 outbreak, with late notice provided to staff. Physicians are working through lunch and unpaid overtime.
- Mandalay Bay: Lost 3 physicians. Patients are being double, and triple booked for 20-minute appointments, forcing physicians to see up to 22 patients per day compromising patient care and overwhelming exhausted staff.
- Moorpark: Support staff cuts have referrals a month behind, with patients waiting two or more months for routine referrals. Lack of exam gloves.
- Magnolia: Lost 5 MAs, 2 LVNs, 2 phlebotomists, 9 office staff, 1 pharmacist, 1 pharmacy tech, 3 physicians, 3 mid-level providers, 1 bookkeeper, 1 IT staffer. Only one nurse is left to serve both urgent care and primary care clinics. Urgent care lacks N95 masks, gloves, and equipment, forcing employees to bring in their own. Suture kits are substandard. Patient access and care is severely compromised. There are no COVID screeners; patients and staff are frequently exposed.
- Nepotism: The County hired the husband of the Ambulatory Clinic System CEO to work as a physician under the CEO’s supervision.
We the undersigned demand that Ventura County take immediate action:
Work with employees and their unions to staff clinics with physicians, nurses and support staff needed to meet legal & medical practice patient care standards.
- Hire the experienced workers that were not retained in the takeover to fill the vacancies and understaffing
- Ensure that patients have access to quality care.
- Reduce workload and additional responsibilities.
- Ensure adequate supplies and equipment.
- Practice COVID safety for patients and employees.
- Cease management favors & jobs to family members
For questions contact Esmeralda Reynoso – Esmeralda.firstname.lastname@example.org