California Healthline Highlights Recent Hospital News
Officials at Doctors Medical Center and the state corrections department are negotiating a long-term contract that would allow inmates at San Quentin State Prison to receive medical care at the hospital, the Contra Costa Times reports.
At a San Pablo City Council meeting on Monday, the officials said that one floor of the hospital would be used to treat as many as 25 inmates daily and that corrections officers would secure the floor.
Financial details were not available. However, the Contra Costa Times reports that an agreement "would provide the underused and financially strapped hospital a reliable source of new revenue, while the prison would get high-quality health care" (Lochner, Contra Costa Times, 8/23).
Union leaders began airing radio advertisements on Wednesday about a memo that directs doctors in the John Muir Physician Network to not refer patients for a colonoscopy if their life expectancy is less than five years, the Contra Costa Times reports. The ads are intended to pressure officials at John Muir Medical Center during contract negotiations.
Union workers are expected to strike at the medical center on Monday and Tuesday; some have been without a contract since Oct. 15.
Union leaders said the memo, sent in March, appears to establish a policy that denies certain patients colonoscopies. Union leaders have asked federal regulators to investigate whether the policy violates Medicare rules.
Physician Network officials said the policy intends to promote less-invasive colon cancer screenings for fragile patients (Kleffman, Contra Costa Times, 8/23).
Martin Luther King Jr./Drew Medical Center will try to "restore as many services as possible," including trauma care, if the hospital passes a federal inspection and regains its accreditation, the hospital's CEO said Saturday, the Los Angeles Times reports.
CMS conducted an inspection of the hospital July 31 through Aug. 10 (Lin, Los Angeles Times, 8/20). If the hospital fails any part of the inspection, it could lose eligibility to participate in federal programs, which account for about $200 million annually -- more than half its budget.
If that happens, Los Angeles County supervisors say the hospital likely would have to be downsized, closed or taken over by another entity (AP/Los Angeles Daily News, 8/21).
King/Drew CEO Antionette Smith Epps said hospital officials "remain cautiously optimistic" about the inspection results. Officials said it could take several weeks before a report is completed (Los Angeles Times, 8/20).
The Natividad Medical Center board of trustees will request proposals from an outside company to develop a new business plan for the hospital, which faces a $15 million deficit this year, the Monterey County Herald reports.
The request would go out immediately after it is approved by the Monterey County Board of Supervisors, and the trustees would meet with potential bidders two weeks later. The board expects to select a contractor by mid-October. The contactor must then develop a business plan within three months of being selected.
The winning bidder would contract with the county to run Natividad for two years and must provide a hospital CEO and chief medical officer. The contract then could be extended for a third year (Salinas, Monterey County Herald, 8/19).
Delaying construction of a $456 million expansion of Sutter Medical Center would be financially "catastrophic" and "definitely would threaten the project," hospital CEO Tom Gagen said, the Sacramento Bee reports.
Superior Court Judge Patrick Marlette will have about three months to decide whether construction should be halted while the hospital corrects its environmental impact report. He also must decide whether the entire report needs to be redone or just the portions that he found to be deficient.
In a letter to Marlette, Sutter officials wrote that a new emergency pediatric center and neonatal care center could be eliminated from the project if there are significant delays. Gagen wrote that the hospital could lose at least $2 million for each month construction is delayed (Hardy, Sacramento Bee, 8/23).
Union leaders representing about 600 workers at Hemet Valley Medical Center and Moreno Valley Community Hospital called for voters in the hospital district to reject Measure 1, a $485 million hospital-bond measure to fund renovations and expansions of the hospitals and finance old debt, the Riverside Press-Enterprise reports.
Service Employee International Union United Healthcare Workers-West officials said workers at the hospital voted last week to oppose the bond measure because of concerns about how the money would be spent.
However, some union workers said that they did not know about the vote and that they support the bond (Atienza, Riverside Press-Enterprise, 8/18). On Friday nurses, hospital administrators, volunteers and union-represented employees rallied in favor of the measure one day after the union called for it to be rejected.
Valley Health System CEO Jim Maki said the district board has adopted a resolution to create a committee to oversee the spending of bond money (Atienza, Riverside Press-Enterprise, 8/19). Health System officials say the union's actions were an attempt to gain concessions during continuing contract negotiations.
Ballots for the measure were mailed Monday (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 8/17).