California Healthline Highlights Recent Hospital News
Blue Cross of California on Friday reached an agreement with Arroyo Grande Community Hospital and French Hospital Medical Center in San Luis Obispo on a new contract that will increase reimbursement rates for services, the San Luis Obispo Tribune reports.
French officials said the hospital was losing money under the last contract, which expired Nov. 23, but reimbursement rates are adequate under the new agreement. The contract will be retroactive to Nov. 15.
Blue Cross patients who use the hospitals will not be affected by the reimbursement rate changes and will be able to continue receiving services at the hospitals (Welton, San Luis Obispo Tribune, 12/10).
A $3 million donation to the Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital announced on Wednesday will help fund a cardiac-catheterization laboratory to treat patients with heart attacks and other cardiovascular problems, the Los Angeles Daily News reports. The 2,500-square-foot Roberta G. Veloz Cardiac Cath Lab is expected to open in 2007.
About 250 patients visit the hospital's emergency department annually with cardiovascular problems, but they must be taken to other medical centers because the hospital currently is not equipped to treat them (Doyle, Los Angeles Daily News, 12/15).
The John Muir-Mt. Diablo Health System and Mt. Diablo Medical Center no longer will include "Mt. Diablo" in their names, the Contra Costa Times reports. The hospital will change its name to the John Muir Medical Center, and the health system officially will change its name to John Muir Health on Jan. 11 (Surdin, Contra Costa Times, 12/15).
Kaiser Permanente announced that it has revised plans for an expansion of Oakland Medical Center after residents voiced concerns about the size of the project, but some residents say they were not given adequate time to review the changes, the Contra Costa Times reports.
The changes to the plan include shifting large structures away from residential areas, reducing the height of the parking garage by two stories and reducing the number of parking spaces in the garage. The revised plan also calls for more retail space on the street level and pedestrian access to the center.
Residents at an informational presentation before the Special Projects Committee said they are still concerned about the size of the 1.78-million square-foot project.
Committee Chair Mark McClure proposed holding another hearing for public comment (Kurhi, Contra Costa Times, 12/10).
Victorville-based Prime Healthcare Services in October agreed to buy Sherman Oaks Hospital for an undisclosed sum, and company officials said the sale should be completed by Jan. 1, the Los Angeles Daily News reports.
Under the sale agreement, the for-profit PHS will continue operating the hospital for at least five years with the same levels of charity and community service care. PHS also agreed to continue operating the Grossman Burn Center for at least five years but is asking that the recommendation to continue operations at the 19-bed geriatric psychology ward be waived.
PHS owner Prem Reddy said the company will spend about $35 million on improvements to the facility, including upgrading the Burn Center and radiology department, and purchasing a new CT scanner and nuclear camera.
An independent review of the sale ordered by Attorney General Bill Lockyer (D) found few concerns, the Daily News reports (Hopkins, Los Angeles Daily News, 12/9).
Members of the Service Employees International Union, Local 715 at Stanford University and its hospitals on Monday held simultaneous 24-hour strikes, the San Francisco Chronicle reports (Walsh, San Francisco Chronicle, 12/13). Union workers are seeking expanded health and retirement benefits.
Stanford University Medical Center and Lucile Packard Children's Hospital last week decided to cancel elective surgeries during the strike.
Union leaders estimate more than 90% of workers participated in the strike (Artz, San Francisco Examiner, 12/13).
However, Stanford spokesperson Sarah Staley said 60% of nursing assistants, cafeteria workers and housekeepers at the hospitals who were scheduled to work on Monday crossed the picket line (San Francisco Chronicle, 12/13).
Stanford campus workers continued contract negotiations on Tuesday; their contract will expire in August. No new talks have been scheduled for hospitals workers, whose contract expired last month (San Francisco Examiner, 12/13).
Sutter Delta Medical Center plans to upgrade five operating rooms with new, digital laparoscopic surgery equipment next year, according to Director of Surgical Services Linda Gilbert, the Contra Costa Times reports.
The hospital in September began using new digital technology in one of its operating rooms. The new equipment produces higher-resolution pictures and uses adjustable flat-panel monitors, which are attached to voice-activated equipment.
The new operating room, called the Stryker i-Suite, cost $250,000 (Coetsee, Contra Costa Times, 12/10).