California Healthline Highlights Recent Hospital News
Officials at Children's Hospital of Orange County on Thursday announced policy changes to surgery procedures after a Department of Health Services report found that doctors cut into the wrong side of a patient's head during an operation, the Los Angeles Times reports.
The new rules, which DHS approved on Thursday, require cutting devices to be removed from the operating area until a required "time out" has been observed and a patient's medical records have been examined to ensure that doctors are performing the correct procedure. In addition, CHOC officials said they will make sure proper marking procedures for surgeries are followed (Berthelsen, Los Angeles Times, 3/31).
A merger of University Medical Center's burn and Level 1 trauma centers into Community Regional Medical Center will take place in April 2007 under a plan approved by hospital trustees on Saturday, the Fresno Bee reports.
Preparations for the merger, including purchasing and installing additional equipment for the trauma unit, will cost about $30 million. The full merger of the hospitals is expected to cost between $70 million and $90 million, including the addition of hospital beds, when UMC finally closes.
The plan approved Saturday does not include merging UMC'c clinic, outpatient and skilled nursing programs, which will remain at the hospital under an arrangement to be worked out with the county (Correa, Fresno Bee, 3/28).
Dameron Hospital nurses on Wednesday voted 71-65 to reject a tentative contract agreement with the medical center and also voted to authorize a strike if negotiations fail, the Stockton Record reports (Goldeen, Stockton Record, 3/31).
Under the tentative agreement announced last week, nurses would receive pay increases of up to 29% over the life of the contract and higher wages for new nursing graduates. Language included in the proposed contract emphasized nurse-patient ratios at the hospital and restricted the use of temporary nurses (Goldeen, Stockton Record, 3/25).
According to union spokesperson Liz Jacobs, "National certification seems to be a concern in the specialty units." The national certification is a new test that requires ongoing education for nurses. Jacobs said the union and hospital are "not that far off" from reaching a deal and the union will hold membership meetings on Tuesday (Stockton Record, 3/31).
Doctors Medical Center reported a greater than expected loss for February, and cash reserves at the hospital are down to less than five days, according to Doctors' CFO Dev Mahadevan, the Contra Costa Times reports.
The hospital has requested $10 million from a state fund for distressed hospitals to maintain operations at the current level. The hospital's governing board also suspended the license of Doctors' burn unit for up to a year. The unit costs $3 million annually to operate.
To increase revenue, the hospital is exploring the possibility of providing care to prison health service patients.
The hospital in January reported a net loss of nearly $1.5 million and 10% fewer than anticipated patients (Lochner, Contra Costa Times, 3/29).
The Petaluma Health Care District on Tuesday presented St. Joseph Health System a letter of intent to continue administering Petaluma Valley Hospital through 2017, the Santa Rosa Press Democrat reports. St. Joseph has administered the hospital since 1996 (Sanchez, Santa Rosa Press Democrat, 3/29).
Voters in Banning on Tuesday approved a $108-million bond measure to fund expansion projects at San Gorgonio Memorial Hospital, the Riverside Press-Enterprise reports.
Excluding 1,000 ballots that had not been counted, about 76.5% of ballots cast were in favor of the measure, according to Rebecca Martinez, chief deputy registrar of voters. Martinez said the uncounted ballots would not affect the outcome of the measure, which required approval by two-thirds of voters participating in the election.
The bond measure will be used to help fund construction projects at the hospital, including:
- Expansions of the emergency department and intensive care unit;
- Construction of a helipad; and
- Other projects to help the facility comply with state seismic safety rules.
Nurses at Scripps Memorial Hospital on Tuesday reached a tentative two-year contract agreement with the medical center that would increase nurses' salaries by an average of 6%, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. The contract is expected to be approved by the nurses.
Under the agreement, nurses would be paid along a step schedule that would allow them to earn up to $39.49 per hour. Other salary increases also are included in the contract.
The contract, if approved by the nurses, will be the first for nurses at a Scripps medical facility, according to hospital spokesperson Julie Lee (Kinsman, San Diego Union-Tribune, 3/29).
KPBS' "KPBS News" on Thursday reported on the ratification of the first union contract for nurses at Scripps Memorial. The segment includes comments from Judy Mills, a nurse at Scripps Memorial (Goldberg, "KPBS News," KPBS, 3/30). The complete transcript is available online.
The complete segment is available online in RealPlayer.