KMC still in trouble despite changes

Cassandra McGowan, Reporter

With over 500 students enrolled in Bakersfield College’s Nursing and Allied Health program, the recent discovery of account mismanagement at Kern Medical Center is only of small concern to the department.

Cindy Collier, BC’s Dean of Nursing and Allied Health, said that whenever the medical field’s labor force changes it is concerning for the department, but that students shouldn’t be overly bothered, as hospital work is not their only option.

“As part of our strategic and continuous quality improvement plans, the college closely monitors labor market trends and has continuous conversations with our advisory boards [community employers] regarding current and future employment trends,” said Collier.

KMC’s chief executive officer was fired in light of the recent discovery of account mismanagement that has propelled the hospital into about $64 million in debt over the past seven years.

$27.5 million of that $64 million may have to be paid back to the state of California for overpayment due to faulty accounting practices.

When asked if Collier believed that KMC would use the students enrolled in the Nursing and Allied Health programs as interns to offset the cost of hiring new employees, she said that the program does not currently contract with KMC for internships, but they do team with them for clinical placement.

“Changes in federal regulations have placed strict requirements on employers regarding the use of interns which limits their use, so this would not be a money saving measure for KMC,” she said.

With so many students currently registered for the various classes within the program, there will be an influx of job seekers upon course completion.

BC’s Nursing and Allied Health Department chair, Jennifer Johnson, doesn’t think the future local medical job market will be affected too much.

“In a nutshell, we’re not worried about it,” she said.