|Title/Topic: South Coast Medical Center OpensOnly Inpatient ED Treatment Program in Orange County and San Diego|
|Posted On: 11/11/2008|
|Nov 11 2008, Laguna Beach, California (O.C. Register) – South Coast Medical Center has opened the only inpatient eating disorder treatment program in Orange County and San Diego.|
The move comes as South Coast tries to find a new buyer since the hospital went on the sales block and Laguna Beach leaders and residents struggle nervously to make sure a hospital stays in town.
Despite the future sale of SCMC and the setback of closing the hospital’s maternity ward in May, the physicians and psychiatrists behind the new program, which opened Nov. 3, said the need to service people with eating disorders was too great to be ignored.
“There’s a very clear need for inpatient treatment for eating disorders specifically in Orange County and south Orange County,” said Dr. Eric Speare, admitting psychiatrist for the eating disorder program. “We believe the demand is there, the need is there, behavioral medicine in general has been a successful program here and we feel that going forward will be an asset.”
The eight-bed inpatient program treats men and women at least 18 years or older suffering from anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorder. Patients follow a daily regimen of supervised meals, psychotherapy, yoga, group therapy sessions, body imaging, nutrition therapy, frequent snacks and relapse prevention.
Eating Disorder Program Manager Annie Lee said that in addition to primary and individual group therapy family therapy sessions are also offered.
Following closing of South Coast’s maternity ward, the question of whether or not a new program will help or hurt the hospital financially was foremost.
“The O.B. has lost money year after year after year. Our behavioral medicine makes money with the combination of inpatient and the partial programs so I think the eating disorder program has a good chance of being profitable,” said Speare. “It’s a good service to the community but also a good business decision.”
Speare said that hospital business in general is difficult. There were 12,000 hospitals in California 10 years ago and now there are only 9,000, he said. Of the hospitals in south Orange County, only two of them have psychiatric units SCMC and College Hospital in Costa Mesa.
Inpatient eating disorder treatment programs with acute care are also hard to come by, according to Speare.
Sue Hogan, clinical director for the program and one of it’s architects, says that the staff of 12 will undergo constant training and are already highly experienced with treating eating disorder patients.
“The nursing staff that will be running the ins and outs of the program are excited to be working on the ground floor of this program,” Hogan said.
The program is also within close proximity of SCMC’s emergency room, should any patient need immediate medical attention.
Speare said that patients will typically stay in the inpatient program from anywhere between two to four weeks, and then will continue to receive out patient therapy as needed with SCMC’s Day Patient Program.
SCMC also offers a free eating disorders support group session for all ages every Monday from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the hospital’s Chapel. You can RSVP by calling 949-439-2607 or 949-499-7504 ext. 2.
To discuss entering the eating disorder treatment program at SCMC with the program coordinator, call (949)-499-7504.