SANTA MONICA, Calif.
— Doctors in California say they are calling for the closing of Comersica Medical Center, a hospital in the Los Angeles suburb of Palos Heights that they say has repeatedly ignored their requests for urgent care and medical attention.
“The patients and families deserve a better care facility and this facility has failed to treat these patients and has ignored our repeated requests for emergency care,” Dr. Rene L. DeGuzman, a Los Angeles-based cardiologist and chief medical officer for the Medical Association of Southern California, said in a statement on Tuesday.
“It is imperative that our state and local officials enact a national system that allows us to have timely access to emergency care, medical care and other critical services for all of our residents, including those who have serious medical conditions and are in dire need.”
DeGuzman is the co-founder of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, a coalition of medical and public health organizations that filed a lawsuit last year against Comersic, alleging it failed to respond to patient and family requests for care.
The complaint, filed with the California State Board of Supervisors, alleged that a system that relies on hospital staff to call patients, staff members to administer tests and other tasks, and an electronic billing system to track patients and pay for their medical bills has allowed the hospital to continue to violate patients’ rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act and other federal and state laws.
“While we understand that Comersics management team has worked diligently to comply with our request for urgent, urgent care, we believe that the hospital is not adequately treating patients who are seriously ill,” DeGuzman said in the statement.
“The fact that a hospital may refuse to comply is not evidence that it is in compliance with federal and California laws and standards.
If you need urgent care or other critical medical care at Comersicus, please call our hotline at 1-877-565-8281.”
The hospital is currently under the control of a former county health officer who has resigned amid a federal investigation into the hospital’s handling of patients with serious health conditions, the group said.
DeGuzmann said he is working with state officials to ensure that the state takes steps to end the hospital as soon as possible.
He added that he is “not satisfied with the current management team” and is calling on state lawmakers to create a new system to help address the hospital.
As of Tuesday morning, the hospital had not responded to CNN’s requests for comment.
DeGuZman said he believes the state health board is not aware of the case, adding that he has also spoken with health officials in other states.
The California Medical Association has also called on the state to enact a “state-wide, statewide emergency medical system” that would provide for rapid and timely access for emergency medical personnel to patients and staff, as well as for patients and their families to seek emergency care.