Kaweah Health emergency department expansion delayed by drug thefts, nursing shortages
Kaweah Health emergency department expansion delayed by drug thefts, nursing shortages

Kaweah Health’s state-of-the-art emergency department is sitting vacant and unused as the medical center awaits approval from state regulators, who have raised concerns about the hospital’s ability to adequately staff the $35 million expansion, CEO Gary Herbst said.

Kaweah Health unveiled its emergency department expansion in an April media tour. Hospital leaders at the time said they expected to begin treating patients at the new facility by the end of the month.

Three months later, the new wing of the ED remains empty. Herbst believes the delay is connected to two incidents of drug thefts by emergency staff, which Herbst announced publicly in a July 9 blog post.

Nationwide nursing shortages driven by the coronavirus pandemic will also see the size of the ED reduced once certified, Herbst said.