California Healthline Highlights Recent Hospital News
San Bernardino County supervisors on Tuesday approved a $30 million expansion of Arrowhead Regional Medical Center that is intended to ease emergency department crowding, the Riverside Press-Enterprise reports. The expansion would increase the hospital's capacity by 84 beds to 457.
The plan must be approved by the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development, a process that could take up to 18 months, according to June Griffith-Collison, director of the medical center (Ghori, Riverside Press-Enterprise, 5/16).
Contra Costa Regional Medical Center could lose eligibility to participate in Medicare and Medicaid unless violence and other problems in its psychiatric unit are resolved, CMS told hospital officials last month, the Contra Costa Times reports. Federal funding for the two programs amounts to nearly $300 million annually, more than 80% of the hospital's operating budget.
To retain the funding, the hospital must submit a detailed correction plan, including dates the changes will be made. The plan is expected to arrive at CMS next week.
The hospital's plan includes:
- Changing leadership in the inpatient psychiatric unit and psychiatric emergency services;
- In-house and outside staff training for employees in dealing with combative and more acutely disturbed patients; and
- Better monitoring and tracking of trends to identify problems.
Kaiser Medical Center in Santa Rosa has launched a $243 million expansion project as the HMO's enrollment in Sonoma County continues to increase, the Santa Rosa Press Democrat reports.
The expansion includes construction of a 90,000-square-foot, two-story building that would house an outpatient surgery center, an occupational medicine center and an imaging center. A five-story, 82-bed addition will be built to house a new emergency department, intensive care unit and nursery.
The Santa Rosa expansion is part of a $10 billion construction project by Kaiser Permanente in Northern California over the next eight years. All expansions at the Santa Rosa center are expected to be completed by 2011 (Benfell, Santa Rosa Press Democrat, 5/12).
Construction of a new Peninsula Medical Center facility could cost $45 million more than the previously estimated $488 million because of possible labor rates, productivity and supply expenses, the Oakland Tribune reports.
Bob Merwin -- CEO of the Sutter Health affiliate Mills-Peninsula Health Services, which is building the facility -- said he believes cuts to the proposed hospital could bring costs back to the original estimate.
Such cuts could include delaying construction of the helipad, women's outpatient services and most conference rooms. The plan also could eliminate the top floor of the hospital and re-use furniture and medical equipment. Merwin said none of the proposed changes would affect the "functionality of the program or services within the new building" (Morente, Oakland Tribune, 5/17).
Residents could vote on whether to fund a new hospital in August. A special mail-in ballot for August must be approved by the county Board of Supervisors by June 2, according to Carole Groom, vice president of community relations at Mills-Peninsula (Ramroop, San Francisco Examiner, 5/17). A new hospital is needed to meet state seismic safety requirements (Oakland Tribune, 5/17).
The Santa Clara County health and hospital system would need $350 million by 2013 to make state-mandated seismic safety and other improvements to the Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, architect Jim Hall told county supervisors Wednesday, the San Jose Mercury News reports. According to the Mercury News, the hospital projects "could hinge on whether voters approve one or more bond measures in coming elections."
The medical center "has some compliant buildings," such as the new main hospital, but "some older facilities are definitely not compliant," including areas that account for 272 of the hospital's 524 beds, Hall said.
County Executive Pete Kutras said funds already allocated for capital projects would pay for hospital improvements for another year.
After that, the county would need an additional $30 million to continue as planned, Santa Clara Valley Medical Center Executive Director Sue Murphy said. Murphy added that the hospital has not identified guaranteed funding from state or federal sources for the project.
Santa Clara County faces a projected $662.1 million budget deficit between fiscal years 2007 and 2010 (San Jose Mercury News, 5/18).
Tri-City Medical Center officials and others at a public hearing on Thursday discussed Proposition F, a $596 million general bond measure to fund expansion and seismic upgrades at the hospital, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.
The bond would be used to renovate one-third of the existing hospitals and build new facilities to comply with state seismic safety standards by 2013. The measure would levy a 30-year property tax on all property parcels in the health care district. A two-thirds vote is needed to approve the bond.
However, a group that opposes the measure said the proposal does not provide enough detail on how the money would be used (Rodriguez, San Diego Union-Tribune, 5/19).