May 11, 2011 (Salinas, CA) — Today the Joint Legislative Audit Committee voted in favor of an audit of Salinas Valley Memorial Healthcare System (SVMHS). Assemblymember Luis Alejo of the 28th District requested the audit.
Jim Gattis, president of the five-member SVMHS Board of Directors, presented the board's response to the concerns and claims cited in the request for the audit. "Our sole concern was to address the inaccurate claims that have been made. We were here to clarify the facts about those particular issues, not whether the state should proceed with an audit," said Mr. Gattis. "We welcome the opportunity to facilitate the audit. We already have an independent, outside firm conduct an audit every year on the hospital's financials, so we know the state will find we are in compliance with all laws, rules, and regulations, and have acted ethically. With the hearing complete, we're ready to turn our full attention back to the hospital's operations to ensure Salinas Valley Memorial is in the best possible position to care for our community for years to come."
Mr. Gattis and Dr. David Perrott, Chief Medical Officer, spoke on behalf of SVMHS. During the hearing, they responded to an inquiry from Assemblymember Bill Monning about how the hospital measures quality of care. Dr. Perrott highlighted the multiple ways in which the hospital voluntarily participates in quality metrics and informed the committee data is publically available through several websites, including the hospital's. An additional concern that was raised during the inquiry focused on patient staffing levels. Today, in terms of ratio, the hospital is staffed at an equal or higher ratio than 85 percent of hospitals in the state. In June, when layoffs will be complete, the hospital will be staffed at an equal or higher ratio than 75 percent of hospitals.
About SALINAS VALLEY MEMORIAL HEALTHCARE SYSTEM: Salinas Valley Memorial Healthcare System is an integrated network of healthcare programs, services and facilities. At the core of the system is a 269-bed acute care hospital with several distinct specializations and programs. Specialized facilities and programs include the Regional Heart Program, the Comprehensive Cancer Center, Joint Replacement Center, Regional Spine Center, Women and Children, Regional Wound Healing Center, an Emergency Department and a Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). Salinas Valley Memorial employs about 1,900 people and the Medical Staff includes 265 board-certified physicians across a range of specialties.