California Healthline Daily Edition

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

California Hospital News Roundup for the Week of April 22, 2011

John Muir Medical Center, Walnut Creek

On Sunday, John Muir Medical Center opened its new $612 million Tom and Billie Long Patient Care Tower, the San Francisco Business Times reports.

The new 380,000 square-foot inpatient tower nearly doubles the size of the medical center. The expansion has 242 beds -- nearly all of which are private -- and brings the number of emergency treatment rooms to 44. The new tower also adds three surgery suites to the medical center and includes a rooftop helipad (Rauber, San Francisco Business Times, 4/18).

Martin Luther King, Jr. Medical Center, Los Angeles

On Tuesday, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved a $165.1 million contract for the design and construction of a revamped Martin Luther King, Jr. Medical Center, the Daily News reports.

Hensel Phelps Construction received the contract to renovate three existing buildings on the Willowbrook campus and build the 120-bed community hospital. The new facility -- which is expected to support about 30,000 emergency department visits annually -- is slated to be completed in September 2013 (Los Angeles Daily News, 4/19).

Providence Holy Cross Medical Center, Mission Hills

Providence Holy Cross Medical Center's new $180 million patient care wing is scheduled to open next month, the Los Angeles Daily News reports.

During planning stages, community advocates opposed the construction of the four-story, 138-bed wing without a full environmental impact report. The Los Angeles City Council voted 8-5 to block the expansion in 2007, but the hospital broke ground because city officials thought 10 votes were necessary to block construction. A Superior Court later halted construction, but the council eventually allowed the project to resume.

The new wing contains a 12-bed neonatal intensive care unit, a gastroenterology lab, operating rooms, a Women's Pavilion and a nondenominational chapel (Abram, Los Angeles Daily News, 4/14).

Sierra Kings District Hospital, Reedley

Adventist Health/Central Valley Network plans to purchase Sierra Kings District Hospital if voters approve the deal in a June 7 special election, the Fresno Bee reports.

In October 2009, Sierra Kings filed for Chapter 9 bankruptcy. Since then, the hospital's board of directors has been searching for ways to keep the facility open. Last week, the board approved the sale agreement with Adventist Health/Central Valley Network. The terms of the deal include a 15-year lease of the hospital property at $800,000 annually, subject to increases (Anderson, Fresno Bee, 4/16).

Stanford Hospital & Clinics and Lucile Packard Children's Hospital, Palo Alto

On Wednesday, the Palo Alto City Council's policy and services committee voted 2-1 in favor of Stanford University's newly proposed development agreement for its medical centers, the San Jose Mercury News reports.

The university is planning a $3.5 billion expansion project that would add 1.3 million square feet to Stanford Hospital & Clinics and Lucile Packard Children's Hospital. Under the new development agreement, the university would pay a one-time, upfront payment of $2.4 million to the city. The agreement also guarantees that Palo Alto can collect the $8.1 million in construction-use taxes projected by 2025 (Dungan, San Jose Mercury News, 4/21).

Sutter Auburn Faith Hospital, Sutter Roseville Medical Center

Registered nurses at Sutter Auburn Faith Hospital and Sutter Roseville Medical Center have ratified new three-year contracts, according to the California Nurses Association/National Nurses United, the Sacramento Bee reports.

Under the terms of the deal, nurses at Sutter's Auburn Faith campus will receive an immediate 3% pay increase and an additional 14% increase over three years. Nurses at Sutter's Roseville campus will receive an immediate 5% pay increase and an additional 14% increase over three years (Glover, Sacramento Bee, 4/16). Both contracts are set to expire June 30, 2014 (Robertson, Sacramento Business Journal, 4/15).

UC-San Francisco Medical Center

UC-San Francisco Medical Center recently started to implement its estimated $160 million electronic health record system, the San Francisco Business Times reports.

Officials said the system cost about $100 million more than previous estimates because they opted to implement it throughout UCSF's various medical units. The new system includes functions for patient registration and scheduling, clinical and pharmaceutical support, billing and other services. Officials expect the EHR implementation to take about one year (Rauber, San Francisco Business Times, 4/15).

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Murrieta

A former Department of Veterans Affairs Clinic in Sun City has relocated to Murrieta so it can better expand its programs, according to staff members, the Riverside Press-Enterprise reports. The clinic is part of the VA Loma Linda Healthcare System.

Jane Conrad, clinic manager, said the new site provides more exam rooms and space for support groups. She added that the growing number of veterans returning from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan partially is responsible for the need to add more space (Hill, Riverside Press-Enterprise, 4/18).

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Stockton

On Tuesday, Stockton city officials reaffirmed their commitment to provide water and sewer connections for a possible new veterans' medical center in French Camp, the Stockton Record reports.

The Department of Veterans Affairs is considering two site proposals from private developers interested in building the $280 million facility. One of the proposed locations is in French Camp -- which is south of Stockton -- and the other is in Stockton's University Park. Veterans previously expressed concern that Stockton would not provide the utility connections if VA built the medical center in French Camp (Johnson, Stockton Record, 4/20).

VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System

The VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System recently received $50 million to expand its use of solar panels and support renewable energy initiatives, Healthcare Finance News reports.

Donna Beiter -- director of the Department of Veterans Affairs' Los Angeles area health system -- said annual average energy savings could exceed $1.7 million. Beiter added that utility companies also could provide significant rebate incentives. The solar panels will be installed at various VA campuses, including Los Angeles Ambulatory Care Center, Sepulveda Ambulatory Care Center and West Los Angeles Medical Center (Pizzi, Healthcare Finance News, 4/19).

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