California Healthline Highlights Recent Hospital News
Alta Bates Summit Medical Center on Thursday announced closures of several outpatient programs and job cuts, the Oakland Tribune reports.
Hospital officials said that the cost of impending retrofitting costs to meet state seismic safety standards necessitated the downsizing. Technology and labor costs also contributed to the decision.
The affected outpatient programs include an adult day health care program that serves Alzheimer's patients and seniors. The hospital also will reduce from 45 to 33 the number of inpatient beds in the pulmonary subacute clinic at the Herrick campus in Berkeley.
About 30 jobs also will be cut. The combined closures will affect about 120 patients. Officials did not disclose the cost savings from the downsizing (Vesely, Oakland Tribune, 11/17).
Sutter Medical Center in Santa Rosa on Wednesday announced it will cut 30 positions because of overstaffing, the Santa Rosa Press Democrat reports.
Hospital CEO Mike Cohill said that the facility is staffed to care for 130 patients but that the average patient flow is 107.
Most of the eliminated positions are held by members of the Service Employees International Union's United Health Works union. Union officials said that the downsizing will affect patient care and breaches the contract between the union and the hospital.
A hospital spokesperson said the job cuts do not violate the contract and will not impact patient care (Hart, Santa Rosa Press Democrat, 11/16).
Children's Hospital Central California must hire a pediatric surgeon and pediatric neurosurgeon before it can reapply for its state trauma designation, the Fresno Bee reports. The hospital lost the certification in October and is working to recruit the needed physicians.
The state's Emergency Medical Services Authority on Oct. 4 revoked the hospital's designation after discovering that the hospital turned away patients because it lacked the required specialists (Correa, Fresno Bee, 11/17).
Federal regulators this month informed Contra Costa Regional Medical Center that its federal Medicare funding could be revoked after accusing the hospital of illegally dumping three psychiatric patients, the Contra Costa Times reports.
CMS said it would terminate the hospital's Medicare contract on Feb. 1 unless its correction plan is approved.
Dr. Jeffrey Smith, director of the hospital, said that a correction plan was submitted on Monday. A termination of the Medicare contract would close the hospital, he said (Kleffman, Contra Costa Times, 11/17).
The Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday voted to downsize the inpatient psychiatric unit at the facility after a review determined that most of its patients do not require an acute level of care, the Contra Costa Times reports.
The plan will reduce the number of beds by nearly half to 23 and expand services at community facilities with a less restrictive environment (Kleffman, Contra Costa Times, 11/15).
Foothill Presbyterian Hospital last month received a $500,000 donation for its emergency department expansion, increasing funding to $12.4 million, the San Gabriel Valley Tribune reports. The hospital's fundraising goal for the project is $14.4 million.
The new ED will be more than three times bigger than the current facility, which has 11 beds and no waiting room. ED patients currently wait in the ICU waiting room, officials said.
The expanded ED will have 23 beds, two waiting rooms and wider hallways and will increase patient capacity from 25,000 per year to 48,000 (Hewitt, San Gabriel Valley Tribune, 11/15).
Fresno Surgical Hospital on Friday laid off 23% of its workforce, reducing its staff to 85, the Fresno Bee reports. The hospital also announced a new CEO.
Officials of the hospital -- purchased in April by Cirrus Health in Texas - said that the job cuts were made across the board and came after an "in-depth review" of facility operations. The hospital still meets the state's nurse-to-patient ratio requirements, according to a hospital spokesperson.
Jeff Comer Jr., the new CEO, was previously the director of Whittier Hospital Medical Center (Correa, Fresno Bee, 11/15).
Highland Hospital officials last week presented a plan to the county to upgrade the facility to meet state seismic safety standards by 2008, the Oakland Tribune reports.
County supervisors approved a $547.5 million funding limit for the project to rebuild Highland's main building -- the acute care tower, which currently does not meet state standards.
The new facility is expected to be completed in late 2014. Hospital officials are seeking a two-year extension on its 2013 deadline -- after a previous five-year extension -- for compliance with state seismic safety rules (Vesely, Oakland Tribune, 11/12).
Paradise Valley Hospital could lose eligibility to participate in Medicare by January 2007 and have its national accreditation revoked by December after failing two recent inspections, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.
The hospital in August failed an unannounced federal inspection, potentially resulting in a loss of its federal funding by Jan. 21, 2007. Hospital officials on Nov. 2 sent a required plan of correction to state and federal regulators, but it was rejected.
The hospital has until mid-December to submit a correction plan to the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations. After failing an unannounced inspection by the agency in September, the hospital will lose its accreditation if the correction plan is not approved (Clark, San Diego Union-Tribune, 11/11).
St. Vincent Medical Center last month closed its heart transplant program, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Paul Silva, a hospital spokesperson, said that the Oct. 4 closure was the result of several factors, including new medical technology that allows heart patients to live longer without requiring a transplant.
Silva also said the closure was the result of a reduction in annual transplants after insurers stopped referring patients to the hospital because federal contractors sanctioned it last March for several violations in its liver transplant program (Ornstein/Weber, Los Angeles Times, 11/17).
The Sacramento City Council on Tuesday was expected to rescind last year's approval of Sutter Health's midtown hospital expansion plan and postpone a new approval process until an environmental impact report is revised, the Sacramento Business Journal reports.
The postponement follows a court order by a superior judge who in August ruled that the community did not have the opportunity granted by the California Environmental Quality Act to evaluate the environmental impact of the expansion.
The city Planning Commission on Nov. 20 will hold a public hearing to address the revised report, which includes traffic information and other environmental concerns that were absent in the original report.
The City Council will consider re-approval of the project in December (Robertson, Sacramento Business Journal, 11/10).
Capital Public Radio's "KXJZ News" on Monday reported on the City Council's expected withdrawal.
The segment includes comments from John Borsos, vice president of the Service Employees International Union's United Health Care Workers-West (Milne, "KXJZ News," CPR, 11/13).
A transcript and audio of the segment are available online.