California Healthline Highlights Recent Hospital News
Centinela Freeman HealthSystem officials on Tuesday announced that they will close the emergency department at the Memorial campus, the Los Angeles Times reports.
The hospital chain will open urgent care centers at its Memorial and Centinela campuses to help provide health care services. Under the closure plan, the Centinela campus ED will treat emergency patients who otherwise would have sought treatment at the Memorial campus.
Memorial treated about 38,000 patients in its ED in 2005, 16,000 of whom it considered "severe" in data submitted to the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development.
Michael Rembis, president and CEO of the hospital chain, said more than 60% of patients treated in the Memorial campus ED presented with non-emergency conditions (Quinones, Los Angeles Times, 9/20).
Community residents on Thursday asked hospital system leaders to reconsider the plan (Quinones, Los Angeles Times, 9/22).
Several broadcast programs reported recently on Centinela Freeman HealthSystem officials' announcement of the closure and a County Health Councils town hall meeting on Thursday to request that the ED remain open:
- KPCC's "KPCC News": The segment includes comments from Rembis, and area residents (Nazario, "KPCC News," KPCC, 9/19). The complete segment is available online in RealPlayer.
- KPCC's "KPCC News": The segment includes comments from Lark Galloway-Gilliam, executive director of CHC; Carol Meyer, director of the county Emergency Medical Services Agency; and Rembis (Nazario, "KPCC News," KPCC, 9/18). The complete segment is available online in RealPlayer.
- KPCC's "Patt Morrison": The segment includes comments from Galloway-Gilliam; Loretta Jones, executive director of Healthy African American Families; and Rembis (Morrison, "Patt Morrison," KPCC, 9/19). The complete segment is available online in RealPlayer.
Doctors Medical Center last week instituted 10% pay cuts for all employees as part of an effort to maintain hospital operations, the Contra Costa Times reports. The pay reductions are expected to last at least 60 days (Lochner/Kleffman, Contra Costa Times, 9/16).
Doctors last week diverted ambulances from its ED and announced plans to file bankruptcy (California Healthline, 9/15).
Five employees have been laid off permanently, and additional staff cuts likely will occur in nursing, radiology, administration and other hospital departments. Hospital leaders also plan to maintain operations in only one of the facility's three intensive care units (Johnson, San Francisco Chronicle, 9/16).
Nurses on Tuesday called for Contra Costa County to take over administration of the hospital, but Supervisor John Gioia said the county likely could not afford it (Lagos, San Francisco Chronicle, 9/20).
Hospital officials continue to seek funds from various government entities, and hospital CEO Irwin Hansen said he expects a response from the office of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) soon (Lochner, Contra Costa Times, 9/21).
The Santa Clarita Planning Commission on Tuesday rejected a revised plan to expand Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital, the Los Angeles Daily News reports. The planning commission previously had rejected a proposed expansion plan (O'Rourke, Los Angeles Daily News, 9/20).
To strengthen their case, hospital leaders released a report indicating that the hospital in 2005 generated $9.8 million in tax revenue and paid $133 million in wages to about 2,400 employees. The report found that in 2005 the hospital also spent $30.9 million on services, supplies and equipment.
The hospital commissioned the Los Angeles County Economic Development Council to undertake the report (Farrell Aidem, Los Angeles Daily News, 9/18).
Employees at five hospitals in California owned by HCA have approved a new contract, union officials announced Monday, the Riverside Press-Enterprise reports. About 95% of voting members of the Service Employees International Union United Healthcare Workers-West and Local 121RN voted in favor of the contract, union officials said (Quan, Riverside Press-Enterprise, 9/18).
Under the contract, pay for many employees will increase by 40%. The contract bans required overtime and subcontracting, and stipulates safe staffing guidelines.
The contract runs through March 31, 2010 (Ventura County Star, 9/19).
Healdsburg Hospital has broken ground on a new $3 million ED, the Santa Rosa Press Democrat reports. About 10,000 patients sought treatment at the Healdsburg ED in 2005.
The new 4,600 square-foot ED will have eight beds in private rooms, compared to the current 900 square foot ED with four beds. The current facility does not have private rooms.
Hospital CEO Evan Rayner said the new facility will be the first modular ED in California, noting that using modular construction will make it possible for the ED to open in March.
The project is funded in part by a $2 million donation from Maggie and Harry Wetzel, who have lived in the area since 1962 (Benfell, Santa Rosa Press Democrat, 9/20).