Council discusses changes to Mission Hospital's Laguna campus

City officials and Mission Hospital representatives met recently to discuss possible changes to the Laguna Beach campus.

Among the issues discussed were a reduction in intensive care patients and the effect on the campus of Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian becoming affiliated with the St. Joseph Health.

Councilman Robert Whalen, who represented the city along with Mayor Kelly Boyd and City Manager John Pietig, said at the June 4 council meeting that there would be no substantial change in the hospital's level of service.

Capital investments and improvements to the property are continuing, he said, and he encouraged the hospital to send representatives twice a year to council meetings to provide updates on progress and potential changes.

Councilwoman Toni Iseman expressed concern that among the changes would be a reduction in the number of beds in the intensive care unit to four and the consequent reduction in nursing staff.

Iseman said fewer nurses might leave the hospital short-handed in an emergency.

Whalen said hospital officials are requesting permission from the state to create some flexibility in how they use the beds, not to eliminate the beds.

Currently, regulations require the hospital to leave the beds empty if there are not enough ICU patients to fill them.

Boyd reiterated that the hospital does not propose to close the ICU but to use the beds more efficiently and plans to update its old equipment.

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