California Healthline Highlights Recent Hospital News
Unionized workers at Alta Bates Summit Medical Center in Oakland and Berkeley on Thursday reached a tentative contract agreement with hospital officials, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Service Employee International Union-United Healthcare Workers West members will vote on the contract Tuesday.
The contract includes wage increases of between 17% and 22% through the contract's expiration date in June 2008. The tentative agreement also includes more funding for training and would allow workers to have a greater say in staffing decisions.
The previous contract expired in April 2004 (Colliver, San Francisco Chronicle, 2/10).
Fresno Heart Hospital will begin performing bariatric and orthopedic surgeries over the next few months to increase the number of patients treated at the facility, the Fresno Bee reports. Other general surgeries could follow.
The addition of noncardiovascular services at the specialty hospital is expected to increase business by about "five or six patients a day," according to John Zelezny, senior vice president and spokesperson for Community Medical Centers, the majority owner of the hospital. The hospital fills about 20 to 25 of its 60 beds per day, on average, Zelezny said.
The additional surgeries also are expected to increase income at the for-profit hospital, which reported a first-year loss of $10 million after opening in October 2003 and a $4.5 million loss by August 2005 (Correa, Fresno Bee, 2/3).
The Escondido City Council on Wednesday unanimously voted to rezone 35 acres in the city's business park to allow Palomar Pomerado Health to build a hospital on the site, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.
The council approved the zoning change on two conditions: the heath district must pay $19 million to improve and extend the main road through the business park and agree to renovate and redevelop the Palomar Medical Center campus.
The district now must submit its plan to the state for approval, which could take up to 18 months. The hospital is expected to be completed by 2011 (Lee, San Diego Union-Tribune, 2/10).
Stanford Hospital and Clinics is expected to finance a $1.1 billion, five-year capital building program with a $427.4 million bond issue next month, the San Francisco Business Times reports.
The money will be used for a number of renovation and expansion projects, including the renovation of some operating rooms, a major outpatient facility and a major IT installation over the next three years, the Business Times reports.
Stanford also is working to enhance cancer care, cardiac services, orthopedic care, transplantation services and neuroscience, according to CEO Martha Marsh (Rauber, San Francisco Business Times, 2/6).
The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education on Feb. 23 will conduct an inspection of the University of California-Irvine Medical Center's anesthesiology department, the Los Angeles Times reports.
The department "has been repeatedly warned" by the council about academic deficiencies since 1997, and is currently on probation, according to the Los Angeles Times. If the department loses accreditation, it would no longer be able to hire graduate students and would lose eligibility to receive some federal funding.
Raafat Mattar, an assistant professor who resigned three weeks ago, said some of the shortcomings listed in 2000 and 2004 accreditation reviews have been resolved. Problems cited by the council included lack of equipment, failure to hire a director with medical board certification and inadequate coordination with related disciplines, such as psychiatry and physical therapy.
Mattar said that department supervisors promised to fix the remaining deficiencies, but nothing was done.
The department also is facing "a string of doctors' resignation, faculty complaints of risks to patients, a wrongful-termination lawsuit by a former professor and potential sanctions for the department's pain-management program," the Los Angeles Times reports (Rivenburg, Los Angeles Times, 2/10).