California Healthline Highlights Recent Hospital News
Century City Doctors Hospital on Wednesday reopened its emergency department, the Los Angeles Times reports. The ED is expected to treat 1,200 patients per month, or about 14,400 patients annually.
Initially, the ED will accept only walk-in patients but likely will accept ambulatory patients within a few weeks, according to Randy Rosen, CEO of Salus Surgical Group, which owns the hospital.
County health officials said that although the hospital is expected to see only a small number of ED patients in the county, they hope it will relieve pressure on other EDs in the region (Keller, Los Angeles Times, 3/23).
Eisenhower Medical Center officials recently announced that the hospital has reached its $200 million five-year capital campaign a year ahead of schedule, the Desert Sun reports. The funds will be used to build a four-story, 160-bed wing at the hospital.
Groundbreaking is expected to be in August (De Vega, Desert Sun, 3/21).
More than 100 Natividad Medical Center employees on Monday rallied in support of the hospital, as Monterey County supervisors seek alternative ownership for the county-run hospital, the Monterey Herald reports. Supervisors have said that deficits at the medical center could force budget cuts for other county departments.
Negotiators for the county and Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital are working on a deal involving Natividad, which they hope to reach by the end of the month. If no agreement is reached, the county could seek requests for proposals from other health care providers, according to the Herald (Livernois, Monterey Herald, 3/21).
Natividad is expected to lose $23.9 million this year and about $18.7 million next year after cutting some services. Lawyers hired by the county said an agreement with Salinas Valley Medical Center might make it easier for low-income patients to receive services, ease the transition for Medi-Cal beneficiaries and provide tax benefits (California Healthline, 3/3).
However, some employees of the hospital believe supervisors are exaggerating Natividad's financial impact on the county, noting that the county has a $30 million reserve and a cash surplus, with additional savings expected in the second half of the fiscal year (Monterey Herald, 3/21).
A group of doctors in Santa Clara County on Tuesday planned to voice their concerns about Regional Medical Center's decision to decline to treat most Medi-Cal beneficiaries at a hearing of the county Health and Hospital Committee, the San Jose Mercury News reports.
In 2004, Regional announced it would no longer provide elective care to most Medi-Cal patients. The hospital continues to treat beneficiaries covered by Medi-Cal HMOs, which provide higher reimbursement rates.
The doctors have criticized Regional and its parent company, Tennessee-based HCA, over the decision, saying they are "turning their backs" on low-income patients in the area, the Mercury News reports.
Regional officials have said that the accusations are "more emotional than real" and that the real issue is inadequate Medi-Cal reimbursement rates (Feder Ostrov, San Jose Mercury News, 3/22).
An agreement between Riverside Community Hospital and California State University-San Bernardino will allow the university to accept an additional 200 students in its nursing program over the next four years, the Riverside Press-Enterprise reports. The current program accepts about 80 to 88 students annually.
Nursing school enrollment will increase to 120 students this year.
The hospital will contribute $3.2 million over the next four and a half years to fund the program, and the university will contribute about $900,000, according to Marcia Raines, a Cal State-San Bernardino professor who worked on the agreement (Schwartz, Riverside Press-Enterprise, 3/22).
The Sutter Health board gave renewed support last week for a $257 million, 124-bed medical center in Sonoma County, the Santa Rosa Press Democrat reports.
Plans for the center will be presented to the county in June, and groundbreaking is slated for August 2008, after an environmental review and public hearings. The hospital is scheduled to open in 2013. Sutter plans to fund the center in part by increasing charges to health insurers at the facility.
County supervisors have voiced concerns that the location of the proposed medical center will make it less accessible to uninsured patients and shift the financial burden of caring for low-income patients to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital (Rose, Santa Rosa Press Democrat, 3/19).
Tri-City Medical Center and Blue Cross of California signed a new contract on Wednesday, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. The previous contract expired Jan.1.
Tri-City and Blue Cross officials said the terms of the agreement are "proprietary" and declined to release details publicly (Steinberg, San Diego Union-Tribune, 3/24).
ValleyCare Medical Center is planning to launch a heart surgery program May 1, the Oakland Tribune reports. The state is reviewing permits for the program.
Currently the hospital offers a comprehensive rehabilitation program for patients who are recovering from heart attacks or who have heart disease (Burgarino, Oakland Tribune, 3/22).