California Healthline Daily Edition

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

California Hospital News Roundup for the Week of April 6, 2012

California Pacific Medical Center, San Francisco

On Thursday, the San Francisco Planning Commission considered California Pacific Medical Center's proposal to build a $1.9 billion hospital with 555 beds on Cathedral Hill and invest $300 million to rebuild St. Luke's Hospital, the San Francisco Examiner reports.

The city's planning department has recommended that the commission approve the project.

San Francisco's Board of Supervisors also must approve the proposal before it can be implemented (Burack, San Francisco Examiner, 4/4).

Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles

In 2011, the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute Center performed more adult heart transplants than any other hospital in the country for the second straight year, the Beverley Hills Courier reports.

The institute performed 87 heart transplants last year (Beverley Hills Courier, 4/3).

Kaweah Delta Health Care District

Kaweah Delta Health Care District has received a $100,000 grant from Medline Industries, an Illinois-based heath care supply company, the Fresno Business Journal reports.

The health district will use the grant to launch an expanded Rapid Response System designed for earlier detection of new health conditions in hospitalized patients (Fresno Business Journal, 4/3).

Los Robles Hospital & Medical Center, Thousand Oaks

Officials from Los Robles Hospital & Medical Center and Anthem Blue Cross recently confirmed that they have reached a verbal agreement that will allow the hospital to rejoin the insurer's network of health care providers, the Ventura County Star reports.

About one month ago, contract negotiations between the two organizations stalled, leaving Anthem policyholders with the choice of finding another hospital or another insurer.

Last week, the hospital published on its website an open letter from Greg Angle -- president and CEO of Los Robles -- saying the organizations had "agreed on a new contract effective April 1, 2012."

Darrel Ng -- an Anthem spokesperson -- said the organizations "look forward to having a signed contract."

The organizations have not provided information on when they expect to sign the contract (Gregory/Kisken, Ventura County Star, 4/3).

Palomar Health System, San Diego County

Palomar Health System has entered into an agreement with San Diego-based CSI Financial Services to provide long-term financing options for patients who are uninsured or have high copayments, Payers & Providers reports.

Palomar is California's largest hospital district, overseeing Pomerado Hospital and Palomar Medical Center.

Under the terms of the deal, patients have six years to repay Palomar's hospitals with zero interest on owed payments. CSI will not report missed payments or defaults to credit bureaus, according to the terms.

Tim Nguyen -- Palomar's corporate controller -- said, "We understand many (patients) are facing financial hardships and we would very much like to help our patients meet their financial obligations" (Payers & Providers, 3/29).

Riverside Community Hospital

Riverside Community Hospital and Anthem Blue Cross have reached a deal allowing Riverside to rejoin the insurer's network of health care providers, effective April 2, the Riverside Press-Enterprise reports.

In early March, Anthem sent a letter to policyholders announcing that as of March 3, Riverside no longer was part of the insurer's network.

The organizations would not provide details about the contract dispute, but each cited costs as an issue. Hospital officials also did not provide information about the new contract (Robinson, Riverside Press-Enterprise, 3/30).

University of Southern California - Keck Medical Center, Los Angeles

The University of Southern California's Keck Medical Center has reached a tentative agreement with members of the National Union of Healthcare Workers.

Under the tentative agreement, NUHW members would receive raises of between 9.75% and 33% over the term of the contract.

The deal also would include:

  • Full employer-paid health insurance;
  • A ban on subcontracting; and
  • Improvements to employment provisions, such as retirement benefits and paid time off (NUHW release, 4/3).
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