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After enduring a labor dispute that threatened Community Regional Medical Centers level 1 trauma status and impacted patient care for about two weeks in early September, the two sides have reached a long term agreement.

The issue came to a head when CRMC’s contract with Central California Faculty Medical Group covering 28 physicians ended Aug. 31. Six of the group’s physicians are UCSF faculty providing 24-hour neurosurgical trauma coverage required for the level 1 designation.

Negotiations over a new agreement became contentious when the group’s doctors refused to cover overnight shifts at the hospital. Several patients had to be transported to Bay Area hospitals to ensure there was no lapse in care.

Length of New Agreement Not Disclosed

Community Medical Centers and CCFMG issued a joint statement on Tuesday announcing a new contract.

“Central California Faculty Medical Group (CCFMG) and Community Medical Centers are pleased to announce that they have reached a long-term agreement. This new agreement allows CCFMG and CMC to continue providing the highest quality healthcare to Central Valley patients, while providing the necessary support for CCFMG’s critically needed faculty physician specialists.”

There was no word on the length of the agreement. “I am unable to provide contract details beyond the agreed statement,” said CCFMG spokeswoman Lauren Nickerson in an email.

Dispute Put Trauma Center Status at Risk

CRMC came within a day of losing its status as a level 1 trauma center in September.

Fresno County EMS director Daniel Lynch had given the hospital until 5 p.m. on Sept. 11 to restore 24-hour neurosurgical coverage or he’d be forced to remove the premiere designation.

Both sides were able to agree to a short-term agreement to avoid losing the trauma designation and allow time to come up with a new contract.

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