California Healthline Highlights Recent Hospital News
Tenet California "cannot ... guarantee" that Alvarado Hospital will be sold to a buyer who will keep it open as an acute care facility, but it is "working diligently toward that goal," Tenet California CEO Stephen Newman wrote in a letter to San Diego County supervisors, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. Federal officials ordered Tenet to sell or close the hospital by February 2007 because of allegations that it made illegal payments to physicians for patient referrals.
Supervisor Dianne Jacob said she was concerned that emergency care would be delayed in the area if the hospital is not maintained as an acute care facility. Jacob also said federal authorities have agreed to extend the February deadline if a deal is negotiated to retain Alvarado as a hospital with an emergency department (Clark, San Diego Union-Tribune, 6/13).
KPBS' "KPBS News" on Monday reported on Tenet's decision to sell Alvarado. The segment includes comments from Jacob (Goldberg, "KBPS News," KPBS, 6/12).
The complete transcript is available online. The complete segment is available online in RealPlayer.
Community Medical Centers announced Monday that it has reached an agreement with the California Medical Assistance Commission on new Medi-Cal reimbursement rates, the Fresno Bee reports.
The previous rate reimbursed CMC hospitals 36% of the cost of providing care. CMC said it would not renew its Medi-Cal contract, which expired May 20, unless reimbursement rates increased. CMC officials said the hospitals were losing $30 million annually treating Medi-Cal patients.
CMC officials also announced Monday that they would buy out shares of the Fresno Heart Hospital held by doctors. The hospital is filling about a third of its beds and lost $14.5 million from its opening in 2003 to August 2005.
CMC said it might increase the number of operating rooms and expand services at the center (Clough, Fresno Bee, 6/13).
Kaiser Permanente's plan to build a new hospital in Oakland has been revised to require Kaiser to demolish and clear the site of the old tower within 36 months of completing a new tower, the Oakland Tribune reports. Kaiser is building the new hospital to comply with state seismic safety standards.
Kaiser also agreed to reduce the size of the hospital's parking garage and other structures, including the administrative building. The medical center would comprise a 346-bed hospital tower, a new medical office building, administration building and parking garages.
The Oakland Community and Economic Development Committee sent the proposal to the City Council, which on June 27 will hold a public hearing on the proposed building (Burt, Oakland Tribune, 6/14).
Union members at Los Robles Hospital and Medical Center protested staffing levels and contract negotiations on Wednesday, the Ventura County Star reports. The union's contract with the hospital, owned by the Hospital Corporation of America, expires June 30, and members have not authorized a strike vote.
Union members are asking for staffing increases and improved wages, pensions and health care benefits. Members also criticized the use of temporary nurses and are asking for a wage scale for non-nursing employees.
The hospital is one of three HCA hospitals that picketed on Wednesday (McLain, Ventura County Star, 6/15).
The San Diego Naval Medical Center will receive $7 million to open the Comprehensive Combat Casualty Care Center later this summer, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.
The center will allow treatment of troops wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan. The center will have an upgraded amputee clinic, rehabilitation program and support groups for troops with post-traumatic stress disorder and their families (Liewer, San Diego Union-Tribune, 6/15).
The Green Hospital of Scripps Clinic began notifying 80 patients that instruments used during their surgeries might have been improperly sterilized and encouraged patients to get tested for HIV and hepatitis, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.
Patients who might have been exposed to the improperly sterilized instruments had stomach reduction, bariatric surgery or a procedure for gastroesophagel reflux disease between March 2005 and April 2006.
Audits were conducted at all Scripps clinics last month after it was found that 299 bariatric surgery patients at Scripps Memorial Hospital and six at Scripps Mercy Hospital had surgeries in which improperly sterilized instruments had been used (Clark, San Diego Union-Tribune, 6/13).
Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital will apply to be certified as a Level III neonatal intensive care unit and will expand its partnership with the Lucile Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford University to operate the unit, the Salinas Californian reports.
The Level III unit will have 11 patient beds, which will be increased to 24 beds in three years. The hospital also will add 35 new staff positions, including a fourth neonatologist, over the next three years.
The $4 million expansion of the unit will allow the center to purchase technology that allows Stanford doctors to have face-to-face and voice-to-voice interaction with SVMH physicians.
Births at the hospital are expected to increase to 2,600 annually over the next five years, with more than 400 NICU admissions expected (Calderon, Salinas Californian, 6/9).