California Healthline Daily Edition

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

California Hospital News Roundup for the Week of August 22, 2014

Daughters of Charity Health System

On Wednesday, Daughters of Charity Health System CEO Robert Issai said that labor unions and special interest groups have been interfering with the system's efforts to find a buyer, Payers & Providers reports (Shinkman, Payers & Providers, 8/21).

The Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West and the California Nurses Association have voiced concerns about a bid by Prime Healthcare Services to purchase DCHS. The unions say they are concerned that such a purchase would reduce health care access for low-income patients and that Prime would cut health system workers' pay and benefits (California Healthline, 8/1).

Issai said that "unfounded criticisms" about potential buyers have been "dangerous to the future health care needs of the local communities" and have been "purely in the self-interest of those voicing the criticisms" (Payers & Providers, 8/21).

Doctors Medical Center, San Pablo

On Friday, Kaiser Permanente said the decision to suspend emergency ambulance services at the nearby Doctors Medical Center has overwhelmed its Richmond emergency department and could compromise patient care, the Contra Costa Times reports (Rogers, Contra Costa Times, 8/15).

Last week, U.S. District Judge William Orrick refused to issue a temporary restraining order that would have forced DMC to resume offering emergency ambulance services (California Healthline, 8/15).

In a statement, Kaiser said that its ED has been "consistently full" since the service suspension at DMC. Officials added that its ED "clearly cannot assume all of the ambulance traffic that is now being diverted ... while maintaining the quality care [it is] responsible for providing" (Contra Costa Times, 8/15).

Tri-City Medical Center, Oceanside

On Friday, Tri-City Medical Center officials said admissions logs containing patients' names, birth dates and diagnoses were taken from the hospital by a former employee on Aug. 8, U-T San Diego reports.

According to officials, the documents were located on the lower shelf of a records cart that was used to transport the former employee's personal belongings from his or her office. Tri-City Governance Committee member Louis Montulli said the records were immediately given to the California Department of Public Health. According to Montulli and the former employee, the logs contained data on nearly 35,000 patients who had been admitted to the hospital. The data did not include patients' Social Security numbers or financial information (Sisson, U-T San Diego, 8/15).

Vista Community Clinic

Vista Community Clinic and California State University-San Marcos have received a $1.4 million federal grant to help fund a three-year program that will train nurses to better manage patients' diabetes, U-T San Diego reports.

Specifically, the program will allow student nurses in their senior year to help lead teams of health workers at the clinic to monitor 500 of the facility's most difficult diabetic patients, including those who frequently skip medical appointments, do not adhere to treatment plans or whose diabetes is dangerously unstable (Sifuentes, U-T San Diego, 8/17).

Washington Hospital Healthcare System, Fremont

On Thursday, Washington Hospital Healthcare System entered in an agreement to treat Aetna health maintenance organization, preferred provider organization and Medicare Advantage members for the first time since October 2012, according to a release.

The contract covers three-and-a-half years (Aetna release, 8/21).

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