In 1930, the Carmelite Sisters of the Most Sacred Heart founded Santa Teresita Hospital. Originally a tuberculosis sanitarium, the hospital was located on a three-acre plot in Duarte, California (Duarte had a population of 300 at the time).
The Hospital was named after Saint Therese, a French nun who died of tuberculosis. In Spanish she was called Santa Teresita (“the Little Flower”).
By the middle of the 1950’s, treatment of tuberclosis advanced, and Santa Teresita Hospital became an acute care facility. In 1964, the hospital added its Manor Skilled Nursing Facility (with 133 beds). Over the years, Santa Teresita expanded, including an office center in 1981 and surgery wing in 1986.
In 1998, Santa Teresita Hospital made headlines when it announced its intent to start electronic patient records in the admitting department. The hospital had been using electronic records since 1996, scanning in a patient’s information within a day after discharge. Even before 1996, Santa Teresita Hospital had already made good use from its electronic patient records system through an Ethernet network and its own dedicated server. Since 1995 the Hospital had been storing emergency department records electronically.
By the twenty first century, however, Santa Teresita faced challenges in running its acute care hospital. Finally, in January 2004, California implemented a state wide nurse staffing law which modified the ratios for hospital nurses.
As a result, Santa Teresita Hospital closed its 30-bed acute care facility. Aside from its financial troubles, the Hospital had a history of difficulties in hiring nurses even before the change in state law. At the time, the Hospital employed over 400 people (Duarte’s third largest employer).
A January 9, 2004 article in the Los Angeles Times stated:
The hospital had slowly cut back on its acute-care beds, from a high of 150 in 1987 to fewer than 40 last year. Santa Teresita’s emergency room saw about 12,000 patients a year who were not brought in by paramedics in ambulances and approximately 1,700 brought in by paramedics. The closing of Santa Teresita’s emergency room further strains the county’s emergency medical services system. More than a year ago, St. Luke Medical Center in northeast Pasadena closed its doors. “Every ER that closes in L.A. County puts greater pressure on our system, which is already overwhelmed,” said Carol Gunter, acting director of the Los Angeles County Emergency Medical Services Agency.
Santa Teresita is no longer an acute care hospital, but instead provides assisted living and skilling nursing care for seniors.