California Healthline Highlights Recent Hospital News
Alameda County Medical Center might consider layoffs and other cost-cutting measures to reduce a projected $11.5 million budget shortfall by the end of this fiscal year, the Oakland Tribune reports.
Medical Center CEO Wright Lassiter said that the budget did not take into consideration higher nurse-staffing ratios that took effect in January, adding that administrators budgeted 138 fewer full-time equivalent workers than currently are employed at the medical center.
The budget also did not take into account cost-of-living wage increases for workers whose contracts were expiring, Medical Center Chief Financial Officer Geoff Dottery said.
Lassiter will release recommendations within the next few weeks on how to reduce costs by $20 million (Vesely, Oakland Tribune, 4/13).
San Leandro administrators and physicians met Wednesday to discuss strained staff relations at San Leandro Hospital that have developed in recent months, the Oakland Tribune reports.
Miles Alder, an internist in gastroenterology at the hospital, said a physicians committee would be formed in the coming weeks to work with administrators to improve working conditions (Bartholomew, Oakland Tribune, 4/13).
Sutter Delta Medical Center CEO Gary Rapaport plans to ask county health officials to help address consistent capacity issues at the hospital's emergency department, the Contra Costa Times reports.
Sutter Delta's eight-bed intensive care unit was at capacity all winter, and its 31 ED beds "have been full most of the time as well," according to the Times. In addition, the hospital diverted ambulances for 137.5 hours between November 2005 and March 2006, 34 more hours than during the same period a year earlier and 255% more than any other facility in the county.
Rapaport said he believes the four clinics operated by the county are not adequate to accommodate population growth in the area.
However, County Public Health Chief William Walker said studies have shown that the problem might not be caused by uninsured patients, but by insured patients who cannot get appointments with their doctors. Walker said he would discuss access to emergency care with Rapaport (Coetsee, Contra Costa Times, 4/9).
Tri-City Medical Center officials on Thursday released a 150-page report detailing a spending plan for the $596 million bond measure on the June ballot, the North County Times reports. The report includes a financial breakdown of the plan's total costs, population growth projections and demographic information about patients' use of the hospital.
The public will have two months to consider the proposal before voting June 6. The measure needs a two-thirds majority to pass (Sisson, North County Times, 4/7).
The report is available online. Note: You must have Adobe Acrobat Reader to view the report.
San Jose on Monday agreed to pay Santa Clara County at least $36.5 million -- some of which will be used to make seismic upgrades to the county's Valley Medical Center -- to settle legal disputes involving a proposed concert hall, the San Jose Mercury News reports (Woolfolk, San Jose Mercury News, 4/11).
Albert Green, the new president and CEO of Valley Presbyterian Hospital, is working to rearrange the hospital's budget to allow for increased staffing and capacity, the Los Angeles Daily News reports. The hospital has lost money for the past three years.
Green, who was hired last month, plans to use a portion of the $750,000 allocated to bring in high-cost labor to instead hire additional workers, a process he believes can reduce hospital expenses by one-third. Green has hired 15 nurses and plans to hire 70 more.
In addition, Green is considering alternative financing options for new technology, such as renting, leasing or acquiring equipment through joint agreements with the manufacturers (Hopkins, Los Angeles Daily News, 4/7).