California Healthline Highlights Recent Hospital News
Dameron Hospital officials and California Nurses Association representatives reached a tentative agreement on a four-year labor contract for hospital nurses, the Stockton Record reports. Nurses will vote on the proposal April 24 and 25 after an information session on Wednesday.
The new agreement comes after hospital nurses on March 29 voted 71-65 to reject an earlier proposal and authorize a strike if negotiations failed.
The new agreement calls for a 29% pay increase over four years, with wages reaching more than $32 per hour for new nursing school graduates and $48 per hour for nurses with at least 21 years' experience.
CNA spokesperson Liz Jacobs said the union hopes increasing the voting period to two days will allow more nurses to participate in the vote. Only 45% of the hospital's approximately 300 registered nurses voted on March 29 (Goldeen, Stockton Record, 4/15).
Emanuel Medical Center and Blue Cross of California announced they have agreed on terms for a three-year contract, the Modesto Bee reports. The previous contract expired Dec. 31, 2005.
Neither the hospital nor the insurer would disclose details of the contract.
EMC Director of Physician Services John Gilbert estimated that about 10% of patients at the medical center are Blue Cross members (Mello, Modesto Bee, 4/19).
Opponents of a measure on San Francisco's June ballot involving Laguna Honda Hospital have criticized a provision of the initiative that could open all land zoned for public use to the development of privately owned nursing homes, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
The measure, Proposition D, would make the hospital part of a special district intended for patients who need long-term nursing care, and would bar patients whose primary diagnosis is psychiatric or behavioral, or those who could pose a threat to other patients (Lagos, San Francisco Chronicle, 4/17).
The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education on April 14 granted "continued accreditation" to Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science, which will allow medical students to continue training at the affiliated Martin Luther King Jr./Drew Medical Center, the Los Angeles Times reports.
The council had given the university unfavorable reports in 2001 and 2003, and a third report could have resulted in the loss of federal Medicare or Medicaid funding.
The latest review was based on evaluations of the 15 residency training programs at the university and interviews with staff and residents. However, the review will not restore the surgery, radiology and neonatology programs, which were closed after problems were found by the council (Keller, Los Angeles Times, 4/15).
KPCC's "KPCC News" on April 14 reported on the accreditation. The segment includes comments from:
- Bruce Chernof, acting director and chief medical officer of the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services;
- Zev Yaroslavsky, a Los Angeles County supervisor; and
- Thomas Yoshikawa, acting president, provost and chief operating officer of the university (Rabe, "KPCC News," KPCC, 4/14).
In other news, about 500 nurses and other hospital personnel have been retrained in cardiopulmonary resuscitation after county auditors discovered that an instructor at King/Drew sold certification cards, completed paperwork inaccurately and provided students with the answers to at least one test.
County Department of Health Services spokesperson Michael Wilson said the county is moving to terminate the instructor, who has been a county employee for 23 years.
Fred Williams, a labor consultant who is representing the instructor, said she is contesting her discharge.
According to spokesperson Jane Robison, the district attorney's office Public Integrity Division is reviewing the case to determine if it should be prosecuted (Ornstein/Weber, Los Angeles Times, 4/20).
Riverside County Regional Medical Center officials on Monday outlined proposals to attract and retain more nurses to address a shortage at the hospital, the Riverside Press-Enterprise reports. The medical center employs 400 nurses, but needs an additional 150 to open a 34-bed medical-surgical ward and a 12-bed adult intensive care unit, according to hospital CEO Doug Bagley.
Some of the proposals, such as pay scale changes, must be negotiated with the nurses' union, Bagley said. Other proposals, such as creating work-study nurse training programs with local colleges and developing a nurse education center at the hospital, will require contracts with the colleges and funding from the county, according to Bagley.
The hospital also has proposed developing an accelerated nurse training program with Riverside Community College District that would admit 20 additional nursing students and require them to work at the county hospital.
No cost details for the proposals were discussed.
The Riverside Board of Supervisors expressed support for the proposals but did not vote on the plans (Beeman, Riverside Press-Enterprise, 4/18).
The advocacy group Citizens to Save Tuolumne General Hospital met on Tuesday to prepare testimony for hearings on reducing services at the hospital, the Modesto Bee reports.
County officials have said budget cuts are needed for the hospital to continue operations and make seismic safety upgrades.
However, critics of the cuts say the plan would eliminate services including:
- Eye, nose and throat care; and
- Orthopedic care for uninsured or low-income patients.
The county Board of Supervisors will meet on Tuesday to discuss the issue (Snyder, Modesto Bee, 4/19).
The ValleyCare Health System has begun a campaign to raise $6.7 million to expand the emergency department at ValleyCare Medical Center in Pleasanton, the Contra Costa Times reports. There is no timeline for the project, which would expand the ED from 4,000 to 10,000 square feet (Richards, Contra Costa Times, 4/21).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.