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GVCH Acute Unit Closing
updated: Dec 11, 2013, 9:02 AM

By Edhat Subscriber

Announced yesterday 12/10 that the acute care unit at GVCH will be closing. All patients will be moved off of Pleasent Valley Road within 15 months. Is there any more information on this?


UPDATE: The following press release was provided by Cottage Health System.

Cottage Health System and St. John’s Pleasant Valley Hospital Explore Partnership Opportunity for Subacute Service

GOLETA – Cottage Health System (CHS) and St. John’s Pleasant Valley Hospital (SJPVH), a member of Dignity Health are exploring a partnership opportunity to offer additional subacute residential beds and services at SJPVH in Camarillo.

The subacute facility at SJPVH recently expanded from 38 to 46 beds and would expand again by 26 to 50 additional beds to meet the needs of residents from Goleta Valley Cottage Hospital (GVCH) and elsewhere. The facility would provide an optimal living environment with easy access to outdoor space, onsite gardens and patios, and safe thoroughfares for residents and families to navigate the facility and grounds.

GVCH is currently being replaced to meet the newest seismic requirements for acute patient care. When acute patients move into the new acute care hospital, state law prohibits the subacute unit from remaining in the existing hospital building.

CHS had originally planned to move the subacute unit to the fourth floor of the East Wing at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital. However, with the expansion opportunity at SJPVH and after carefully evaluating the needs of the subacute residents, currently numbering 30, Cottage decided to explore this alternative with superior living conditions for long-term residents.

“We are pleased to work with Cottage Health System on the opportunity to provide an expanded subacute facility for the region,” said Laurie Harting, CEO of St. John's Hospitals in Oxnard and Camarillo.

“St. John’s Pleasant Valley Hospital offers a far superior facility for subacute residents than can be provided at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital,” added Ron Werft, president and CEO of Cottage Health System. “We are hopeful that a partnership agreement will be reached soon.”

Under the terms of the agreement, CHS would provide a capital donation to enable SJPVH to renovate and expand its facilities in accordance with state standards. SJPVH would accept all interested subacute residents currently served by GVCH. The expanded unit at SJPVH would be available in early 2015.

About Cottage Health System
The not-for-profit Cottage Health System -- the parent organization of Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital and its associated Cottage Children’s Hospital and Cottage Rehabilitation Hospital, Santa Ynez Valley Cottage Hospital, and Goleta Valley Cottage Hospital -- is guided by a volunteer board of directors from the greater Santa Barbara community. Last year, the Cottage hospitals provided inpatient care for 20,000 people, treated 68,000 patients through their 24- hour emergency departments and helped deliver 2,300 newborns.

About St. John's Pleasant Valley Hospital (SJPVH)
St. John's Pleasant Valley Hospital is nestled near the foothills of Camarillo. It was founded in 1974 by a group of community leaders who believed that a hospital was needed in their community. In addition to its 81 acute-care beds, St. John's Pleasant Valley Hospital has a 99-bed extended care unit and the only hyperbaric medicine unit in West Ventura County.

Comments in order of when they were received | (reverse order)

 COMMENT 476151P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-11 09:37 AM

Obamacare is going to slash the reimbursement rate for hospitals - what else do you need to know?

(7 out of 10 doctors in California say they will NOT participate in Obamacare - don't you feel better already?)


 COMMENT 476153 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-11 09:38 AM

Please clarify.. with more details.. your statement does not make a lot of sense.


 COMMENT 476154P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-11 09:41 AM

Goleta Valley's SUBacute unit will close (not the acute care unit). Patients will have the option to move to St. John’s Hospital Pleasant Valley facility.


 COMMENT 476162 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-11 10:17 AM

@151P, what are you talking about? Where are those "statistics" from, and what do you mean doctors won't "participate"? There's no "participating". It's just an expansion of medical insurance coverage. If anything, they'll get new patients.


 COMMENT 476163P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-11 10:18 AM

Makes it a little difficult for families here in to visit doesn't it. Also, Dignity Health is a Catholic facility no matter the name change to Dignity Health from Catholic Healthcare West which was founded in 1986 by the Sisters of Mercy. It is still run by the nuns. Is this OK with everyone??


 COMMENT 476164 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-11 10:22 AM

"Subacute care is defined as comprehensive inpatient care designed for someone who has an acute illness, injury or exacerbation of a disease process. It is goal oriented treatment rendered immediately after, or instead of, acute hospitalization to treat one or more specific active complex medical conditions or to administer one or more technically complex treatments, in the context of a person's underlying long-term conditions and overall situation. "

It seems like this will affect the patients and families of the people that I see around the hospital when I am walking the shelter dogs from Overpass Rd. It will be a much longer trip for them.


 COMMENT 476172 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-11 10:32 AM

The SUBacute unit is possibly closing. Subacute is for people who do not need acute care, but still need nursing. Right now, the subacute patients (some who have been in the hospital for years) have the run of Goleta Valley Cottage. They are scheduled to be moved to the new hospital downtown. This means that they will not have as much freedom. It sounds like the situation at St. John's might be better for the patients. But from the press release the original poster posted, it seems like they are discussing this with the families before they make any decisions.


 COMMENT 476196 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-11 11:19 AM

I smell a rat. The same one I have been smelling ever since the same company bought St Francis Hospital, only to close it, and bought Goleta Valley and tried to eliminate emergency care there. I think they did manage to get rid of the maternity unit. Monopolies are very profitable, because when people have no choice, they will just have to pay whatever you ask, won't they? Similar to the situation where Sansum and SB Medical Clinic merged. They were the main 2 places people with HMO's could go, but now they have not signed as Obamacare providers, so a lot of people who formerly had HMO's will have insurance that nobody takes, i.e., no insurance. Bleh.


 COMMENT 476222 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-11 12:07 PM

Yes.. 196 has it right! Monopolies are never good for the citizens. Less services, higher costs that we pay.. Cottage has huge leverage against the insurance companies, especially now that they have Sansum. Very sad but true.. Watch for them to increase their compensations levels from the insurance companies... This means much higher premiums for locals.. We are already paying higher premiums than residents of Ventura County.. but just wait, it will only get worse. WHERE is the anti-trust lawsuit against Cottage for trying to corner the market on health care?? Just follow the dollars.


 COMMENT 476265 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-11 01:07 PM

This has been Cottage's plan all along. Buy up all the medical facilities to create a monopoly, then shut down facilities one by one to force everyone into the only "option" available, which coincidentally happens to be the most expensive. They've eliminated patient choice, and they can set basically any price they want for hospital services because there's nowhere else for any of us to go. And as they continue to buy more facilities (Sansum!), they will be able to set prices on more and more medical services.

We are living in a very dangerous monopoly of medical services, if you comparison shop the Exchange using different zip codes, you'll see how much each and every one of us is paying due to Cottage's monopoly.


 COMMENT 476341P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-11 04:43 PM

If you think it's bad now, wait til Cottage gets its meathooks on Sansum Clinic, which is apparently not that far off. The medical monopoly will then be complete. According to Sansum higher-ups, this IS going to happen.


 COMMENT 476404P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-11 08:45 PM

The subacute unit has never been "profitable", and Cottage now has a huge building downtown that isn't even close to being full, as well as the new building for Goleta Valley. Closing areas that drain money is always the goal of a lean and well run business, right? The story will be that there weren't enough patients to justify keeping the unit open, and they'll be "happier" at St. John's anyways. Actually, the subacute patients often need very long-term or permanent nursing care, and it has always been hard to find financial coverage for this type of care, just as it is difficult to find care for seniors who require nursing home care for periods longer than what Medicare covers. When we had the County Hospital, it provided excellent care to everyone, including low-income and medically indigent patients. The theory behind closing it was that the other local hospitals would contract with the county to provide all services needed by low-income and indigent patients. That other local hospital is still Cottage, presumably still contracted with the County to provide those services, but if they don't "offer" the services, they won't "have" to provide them, or worry about a financial loss. I went to the ER a few months ago, in severe pain from an eye injury. I am disabled, but can walk short distances OK. Silly me, I drove myself instead of calling 911. I parked by the ER--there was no valet service and no street parking. The nurse made me go out and move my car, even though the spaces were all empty, and told me there was "plenty of parking in the parking structure down the street", even though I told her I couldn't walk that far. So, by that time barely able to see and in excruciating pain, I went out and moved my car--to a red zone on the street, but near the ER. (I was lucky and didn't get a ticket.) I don't understand the value of a huge hospital structure with a "Level 1 Trauma Center" and helicopter air service that can't provide either public parking next to the ER or else someone to park the car if someone comes in sick or injured that ISN'T in an ambulance or helicopter! This is a small town, after all.... After that experience, I'm not at all surprised that they are cutting out the subacute unit. After all, what does it matter that locals will have to drive to Oxnard and back to visit? Especially when they're so "sure" the patients will be happier there.


 COMMENT 476418P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-11 10:39 PM

Had to add to 404P's comment. Yes, the ER at the SB Cottage Hospital is horrendous. No near-door parking. A lot is located down an incline from the ER door - very difficult for injured, elderly or disabled people to walk from the lot to the ER door, not only up (or down) the incline, but over curbs as well. No one will take patients back to their cars or from their cars to the ER. It is absolutely unconscionable.
As long as I'm complaining about Cottage, I just loved how my dying elderly parent was waked from sleep (fitful, but at least not awake), every 20 minutes day and night so someone could ask what he wanted to eat (um -he wasn't capable of swallowing...!), to have his blood pressure taken, or blood drawn, or to sweep the floor, etc. When I quietly asked to speak to one of the techs about waiting til later to take blood pressure (when he was awake) since he was expected to live only days at most and was suffering when awake, she very angrily said that she HAD to do it because she'd get in trouble if he died on her shift!!! HUGE problems at Cottage!
My advice - NEVER leave your loved one alone if they must be at Cottage.


 COMMENT 476452 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-12 07:58 AM

Does this mean that anyone wanting to visit a friend or family member in "subacute care" must now drive all the way to Oxnard to do so?


 COMMENT 476462P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-12 08:24 AM

My husband was taken to Cottage ER a few months back. I had to park down the incline, but the security guy at the ER door was very helpful; let me bring the car back up and park it outside the door when he was released some hours later. Not sure what their options are given the original space allotted and the surrounding residential area. I agree it would be difficult if family members couldn't make it up the grade, which is pretty steep.


 COMMENT 476491 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-12 09:19 AM

I've needed to use the Cottage ER a few times. Just let the valet park your car.


 COMMENT 476561 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-12 12:17 PM

Here come the Cottage Haters to rehash some of their favorite myths. The truth is very easy to find on the internets. MYTH: Cottage bought St Francis in order to close it.
TRUTH (from the LA Times): St Francis lost $7 million in 2003, was facing $20 million in earthquake upgrades and had been for sale it for 2 years. Cottage, the only bidder, bought the site AFTER CHW closed the hospital. Note the sequence of events. Cottage bought an obsolete building that had once housed a hospital. Doctors are the life blood of a hospital. They decide where they want to do their procedures and have their patients admitted. St. Francis didn’t have the best equipment and couldn’t provide the same level of care as Cottage and the doctors voted with their feet.


 COMMENT 476562 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-12 12:18 PM

I don't understand. Goleta Valley Cottage Hospital on Patterson Ave???? and acute patients will be transported to St Johns Pleasant Valley Hospital? Where is that? I've lived in SB all my life and I've never heard of St John's Pleasant Valley Hospital. Which town are you talking about???


 COMMENT 476567 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-12 12:23 PM

It's right in the article, 562. Camarillo.


 COMMENT 476572 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-12 12:39 PM

561: Cottage bought Goleta Valley to close down all of the services there and force most patients into Cottage downtown, and that is not a myth. This closure of the sub-Acute services at Goleta is just another way that Cottage is eliminating services and reducing patient choice to solidify their monopoly power.

Goleta Valley had the facility, doctors and patients to keep their birthing center going, but Cottage shut that down to force everyone downtown. Goleta Valley had a great helipad (that didn't disturb any neighbors), but they shut that down so they could force everyone downtown. And Cottage has lied about their plans every step of the way, reducing services and turning a deaf ear to the needs of the community.

Shipping off people who may have long-term hospital stays to another city that is far from their friends, family and doctors is completely unethical and a serious disservice to the community Cottage claims to care about.


 COMMENT 476596 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-12 01:22 PM

MYTH: Cottage bought Goleta, Santa Ynez, and the Rehab Inst. to create a monopoly.
TRUTH: Each of these were money-losers that would be gone today if they hadn’t merged w Cottage. They make it work through economy of scale. Cottage stepped up and bailed out Goleta and Santa Ynez and the Rehab Institute because it was the right thing to do on our behalf.

We have something rare here - a locally owned and administered hospital system. Heath care today is very volatile. If we’re not careful some big chain will come in and buy up Cottage. Do you want some suits far away are making health care choices for SB? You will pine for the simpler days of the “evil Cottage Empire.”
I admit I have a bias. I would probably be dead today, and my young children would be fatherless, if not for the excellent, prompt care I got at Cottage when I had a huge MI several years ago. I know this won't change the minds of any Cottage Haters out there, but I felt I had to address their sillier fallacies.


 COMMENT 476606 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-12 01:38 PM

Okay Janet O'Neill, or Ron Werft or whatever high-paid Cottage mouthpiece you are. FACT: Cottage is a mediocre hospital, a terrible neighbor and has been intentionally establishing a monopoly by buying medical facilities and shutting them down. Cottage overcharges to the point that every few years one of the major insurers gets into a showdown with them, only to relent because Cottage holds a monopoly on hospital services in SB and will create monopolies in many other medical services as they continue their empire building.

Please, it's not like we have no idea what has happened to all of our medical facilities since Cottage started creating their monopoly -- no patient choice, soaring prices, and one very mediocre hospital with a weak record when it comes to safety and hospital-acquired infections. And now Cottage want to ship people far from their love ones under the guise of "better facilities" for patients. You're not fooling anyone.


 COMMENT 476654P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-12 03:26 PM

606, it's true that SB Rehab Institute planned, "knew," and expected for years if not decades that they would not make it alone, and it WAS because of declining reimbursement rates that had NOTHING to do with the ACA. Rehab, as caregivers, of course fought for longer stays for their patients; insurance companies fought them back. (They let employees know what was going on; it was a great place to work.)
Perhaps Mr. Powdrell can shed some light on the realities of hospital stays and reimbursement.

I am disturbed that Cottage is not planning for a subacute unit. I think it's wrong.
These are for people too sick for rehab. The article I read (Noozhawk, I think), said 16 patients were local. It's terrible all the way around except for those who may be closer to their loved ones.
"Of those 30, 16 are local and 14 are from outside the Goleta and Santa Barbara area"

Because I view Cottage as a "full service" hospital, they should have a subacute unit. IN SB.

State definition of sub-acute care:
" Subacute care is a level of care needed by a patient who does not require hospital acute care, but who requires more intensive skilled nursing care than is provided to the majority of patients in a skilled nursing facility.
Subacute patients are medically fragile and require special services, such as inhalation therapy, tracheotomy care, intravenous tube feeding, and complex wound management care."

Yes, Cottage is going to be even more criticized by the community for this decision, and rightly so. I, personally and thankfully, have no complaints about my elders' care there over their lifetimes, especially the past decade.

BTW, Health Net had a big security lapse and is still paying for security monitoring for those affected:


 COMMENT 476657P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-12 03:30 PM

164, I posted the definition of sub-acute care, as did several others, to clarify that it's not what I would call "goal-oriented." That would be the point of SB Rehabilitation Institute.
Sub-acute is a high level of care, comparable or more than a SNF (Skilled Nursing Facility)

Thanks for volunteering at a shelter!


 COMMENT 476659P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-12 03:34 PM

Bite your tongue 606.
RIP, Janet O'Neill

Janet O'Neill passed away peacefully on July 3rd, 2013 at Serenity House in Santa Barbara, CA. She was a loving mother, wife and true friend. - See more at: http://www.independent.com/obits/2013/jul/16/janet-oneill/#sthash.Q9IyiPFk.dpuf


 COMMENT 476660P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-12 03:36 PM

I've had valet service at Cottage ER at 2 or 3 a.m.


 COMMENT 476671 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-12 04:09 PM

Sorry Maria Zate, didn't realize there was a new overpaid mouthpiece for Cottage, but that doesn't change the FACTS.

It is completely unacceptable that Cottage creates a monopoly and then completely eliminates certain medical services in our community. This is much worse than I thought, as the Noozhawk article states:

"Of those 30, 16 are local and 14 are from outside the Goleta and Santa Barbara area, all with an average stay of three years, Zate said.

Neither the Santa Ynez or Santa Barbara Cottage hospitals have a sub-acute unit, Zate said."

How would you feel if your loved one had to spend 3 years in a hospital more than 50 miles from your home? This could be completely devastating to the patient and their family members, financially, emotionally, and medically. What can we do to stop this?


 COMMENT 476678 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-12 04:29 PM

Sorry, 671, that you seem to have had a bad experience with Cottage. I have very special feelings for this hospital because it saved my son's life. He would have died after a terrible car accident several years ago if it hadn't been for the staff at Cottage. It still brings tears to my eyes when I remember the kindness and competence of the PICU nurses.


 COMMENT 476694P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-12 05:10 PM

671, 659P here. I am not Maria Zarate, or even a Cottage employee. Just an SB community member who disagrees with closure of a sub-acute facility.


 COMMENT 476695P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-12 05:12 PM

I hate trolls who use false, assumed ID of other posters as an argument technique.


 COMMENT 476696 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-12 05:14 PM

678: Glad to hear your son survived. But what if he had needed subacute care? How would you feel about having to drive to Camarillo to visit him?


 AUNTIE S. agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-12 07:53 PM

I couldn't agree more with all those complaining about Cottage. I hate what they've done to the excellent health care we used to have in Santa Barbara for the past 50-60 years. Just a giant gobbling up all the good hospitals and not giving a damn about patients


 YIN YANG agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-12 08:10 PM

Here's some good advice: Never leave your loved one alone ANYWHERE! Nursing care or hospital. Be an advocate. It's sad but true. Get educated and step up.


 COMMENT 476766P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-12 11:11 PM

The valet parking is for the Bath street entrance to the main hospital. It is NOT for the ER entrance. The nurse there even argued about helping my disabled mom out to her car (down that incline and over that curb into that sloping parking lot) with, perhaps, a wheelchair once my dad was admitted to the hospital after hours in ER late at night. Mom finally just stumbled her way to her car and made it home. I was horrified. There is a lot of crime in that area, too. I think someone from the hospital should be assigned to help these people be safe at their expensive facility. BTW, my dad's daily in-hospital cost (paid for by insurance) was $10,000 per day! For nothing, too. Oh, maybe it was for the lovely new marble flooring.


 COMMENT 476928 agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-13 11:21 AM

Ying Yang: I totally agree. But how will SB residents be advocates for their loved ones if they are shipped off to Camarillo for subacute care? I just don't see how this could be good for anyone involved (except for Cottage and St. Johns' bottom line, of course).


 COMMENT 476939P agree helpful negative off topic

2013-12-13 11:39 AM

Sad to say, Cottage does not provide the care it could. The staff are overworked on all the floor units and the overall attitude is lousy. Their much-vaunted ER? It's not even clean. Every patient has their vital signs taken inside the same little cubicle by the admitting nurse. Nothing gets cleaned between patients. I saw her pick the blood pressure cuff off the floor to use it on my husband--and that after all the other people she had used it on....what if a meningitis patient is triaged in that cubicle? Do I want to be the next patient? Noooo......And again, when my husband was a patient in the ER, just coming out of a procedure where he had been briefly anesthetized, they rushed him out because they were getting a trauma patient in--didn't even clean the bed or the counter where his shoes and clothes had been. Gross!


 COMMENT 482280 agree helpful negative off topic

2014-01-03 05:46 PM

Cottage hospital does not care for the residents of Santa Barbara only about $$$$$. They claim to really care but ,you can see it for yourself what people of santa barbara are posting. Maybe we need to have a another hospital in town that cares about people. Cottage needs a competitor. So Santa Barbara Resident what are you going to do about Cottage Hospital lying to you and me and turning a deaf ear to the needs of the community. We need to make a difference and get a better hospital that not greedy with $$$$$$$.


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