Closures and cutbacks at California hospitals leave gaps in health care access where patients can least afford them. Arifeen Rahman has this Perspective.
For the first time in two years, I walked through the looming doors of the hospital without signing an attestation of my COVID symptoms. As the taste of normalcy flickers in the wind, I am finally processing coming of age as a young doctor during the COVID-19 pandemic.
I think often of how COVID amplified the cracks in our fractured health care system.
In the earliest wave, small community hospitals like Regional Medical Center near my home in San Jose were immediately overrun with COVID patients while other area hospitals braced with contingency plans.
Yet in the era of consolidation, community and safety net hospitals have been buckling under economic pressure at a time they are most essential. Seton Medical Center in Daly City nearly shuttered in March 2020 after its parent company filed for bankruptcy, threatening to leave a health care desert in its wake. Weeks later, the State of California leased the hospital for emergency COVID care.