California Healthline Highlights Recent Hospital News
Doctors Medical Center on Wednesday announced that it would close its obstetrics department effective at midnight Oct. 1, the Contra Costa Times reports.
Doctors CEO Irwin Hansen said that the move is intended to be permanent but that the hospital would maintain its obstetrics license.
Hansen on Tuesday presented to the county board of supervisors a business plan that calls for the closure of:
- The hospital's Pinole campus;
- A substance-abuse treatment unit; and
- A wound-care clinic.
Hansen this week also announced an agreement with the California Department of Corrections that could be worth as much as $84 million over three years (Lochner, Contra Costa Times, 9/28). Under the contract, Doctors would treat at least eight patients daily from San Quentin State Prison (Goodyear, San Francisco Chronicle, 9/27). The contract must be submitted to the California Prison Health Care Receivership for consideration (Lochner, Contra Costa Times, 9/26).
Despite the new prison contract, hospital officials on Wednesday said Doctors likely would file for bankruptcy early next week (Contra Costa Times, 9/28).
In addition, Dr. William Walker, director of health services for the county, said the hospital on Oct. 5 will request $2.5 million from the California Medical Assistance Commission (Contra Costa Times, 9/26).
The Hospital Association of Southern California on Wednesday announced its support for plans under consideration by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors to transfer administration of Martin Luther King/Drew University Medical Center to a private entity or another county hospital, the Los Angeles Times reports (Rosenblatt, Los Angeles Times, 9/28).
A majority of county supervisors have expressed support for transferring administration of King/Drew to Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, according to the Times (Rosenblatt et al., Los Angeles Times, 9/29).
CMS on Friday notified King/Drew administrators that the facility failed an unannounced inspection and would lose eligibility to participate in Medicare and Medi-Cal. The hospital will lose about $200 million -- half of its budget -- in federal funding annually.
King/Drew will not be certified as a Medicare provider after Nov. 30, but the facility will receive some federal funding for an additional 30 days (California Healthline, 9/27).
Los Angeles City Council member Janice Hahn has sent a letter requesting that City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo examine the city's legal options to maintain operations at the hospital.
In addition, health care and community advocates on Thursday were expected to ask Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) to declare a state of emergency for south Los Angeles, the area served by King/Drew (Los Angeles Times, 9/28).
KPCC's "KPCC News" on Wednesday reported on hospital administrators' reaction to King/Drew's loss of accreditation and funding. The segment includes comments from:
- Rob Fuller, CEO of Downey Regional Medical Center;
- Jim Lott, executive vice president of the Hospital Association of Southern California; and
- Steve Popkin, CEO of Memorial Hospital of Gardena (Nazario, "KPCC News," KPCC, 9/27).
In addition, NPR's "News & Notes" on Thursday included an interview with Rep. Juanita Millender-McDonald (D-Calif.) about King/Drew (Chideya, "News & Notes," NPR, 9/28). The complete segment is available online in RealPlayer.
St. Agnes Medical Center is affiliating its cardiac surgery program with Stanford University Medical Center, St. Agnes officials announced on Monday, the Fresno Bee reports. The program will be called the Stanford Cardiothoracic Surgery Program at St. Agnes.
Under the program, Stanford will assign a cardiac physician from its staff to Fresno, according to Wanda Holderman, chief operating officer of St. Agnes (Correa, Fresno Bee, 9/26).
Plans presented to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors on Monday call for a new San Francisco General Hospital facility to be built on the current campus between two existing buildings, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
To comply with state seismic safety and local zoning ordinances, the new facility will be limited to 90-feet in height and located with 40 feet between it and either building to the side of it -- above ground. The new building will feature what architects Anshen and Allen call a "super-floor" basement level that can extend to the edges of the adjacent structures below ground.
The facility will accommodate 230 beds, and construction is expected to cost about $622 million.
Mitch Katz, director of the San Francisco public health department, said a bond measure to fund construction likely will appear on the June 2008 or November 2008 ballot. He expects construction of the facility to be completed by 2015 (Knight, San Francisco Chronicle, 9/25).
Washington Hospital is expanding its diabetes treatment program, the Oakland Tribune reports.
As part of the expansion, the hospital will offer a series of classes on diabetes management, as well as free monthly education and support groups. The hospital currently offers patients diabetes treatment from specialized medical teams (Woodall, Oakland Tribune, 9/25).