California Healthline Highlights Recent Hospital News
Centinela Memorial Hospital on Wednesday announced that it plans to close its medical-surgical and telemetry units, the Los Angeles Times reports. The expected closures come after an announcement last month that the hospital planned to close its emergency department and divert patients to nearby Centinela Hospital, which also is owned by Centinela Freeman HealthSystem.
United Healthcare Workers, the union representing 500 of Memorial's 800 employees, said hospital officials told union representatives that the urgent care and acute rehabilitation units will remain open at the facility. Thus, other departments not announced by management -- such as pediatrics and the intensive care unit -- also would close.
Union officials also said Centinela's expanded services might not be ready by December, when the Memorial ED is expected to close (Silverstein, Los Angeles Times, 10/12).
Community Memorial Hospital announced an agreement Wednesday with Kaiser Permanente to care for its members through 2007, the Ventura County Star reports. The deal comes one month before the Nov. 15 beginning of Medicare enrollment. Kaiser would have lost its Medicare business if no deal was made by then.
The insurance company is required by law to provide members access to a hospital that is within 30 minutes or 15 miles of where they live. Kaiser's Woodland Hills Medical Center was beyond these boundaries.
The agreement with CMH is based on several commitments by Kaiser, including a rule that CMH specialists will treat patients instead of Kaiser's own doctors. Kaiser also assured CMH that it has no plans to build a competing hospital in Ventura County.
Bill Caswell, vice president of marketing and business development for Kaiser's Southern California Region, said the company will continue seeking contracts with other hospitals in the county (Hoops, Ventura County Star, 10/12).
Contra Costa County supervisors on Tuesday indicated support for entering a joint powers agreement with the West Contra Costa County Healthcare District to maintain services at Doctors Medical Center, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
Under the agreement, the county would have majority control of a new oversight board. The proposal also calls for the county to use about $2.7 million in property tax revenue it currently pays to the hospital district to secure at least that amount in matching state funds to help maintain hospital operations (Johnson, San Francisco Chronicle, 10/11).
Irwin Hansen, Doctors' CEO, said that such an agreement would keep the hospital open but added that the hospital will cease operations by Oct. 27 unless immediate funding is secured (Huff, Contra Costa Times, 10/11).
Doctors and the West Contra Costa County Healthcare District on Oct. 1 filed for bankruptcy.
Deborah Smith, Doctors' interim COO, said the hospital has been losing about $1 million per month for the past two years (Rauber, San Francisco Business Times, 10/6).
The first phase of Kaiser Permanente's $500 million Modesto Medical Center opened Monday, the Stockton Record reports.
The Modesto Medical Offices wing has begun seeing at least 500 patients daily from south San Joaquin County and Stanislaus County, based on referrals by primary care physicians. The new office will initially include offices for 53 physicians, mostly specialists, with room for 80.
The core of the hospital will be five stories and contain 220 beds. About 1,800 employees will staff the hospital.
The entire facility will not be operational until at least 2008, according to Corwin Harper, a senior vice president for Kaiser and manager for the Central Valley Area (Goldeen, Stockton Record, 10/7).
Community activists from the Los Angeles Urban Policy Roundtable are urging Los Angeles residents and Martin Luther King Jr./Drew University Medical Center staff members to call the county and oppose changing the facility's name, the Los Angeles Times reports.
A plan released last week indicated that King/Drew Medical Center would be renamed Harbor-Martin Luther King Jr. Community Hospital to reflect Harbor-UCLA Medical Center's proposed takeover of the hospital.
Michael Wilson, a spokesperson for the county Department of Health Services, said Harbor-MLK is "sort of a working name that's being used right now," adding that the facility's name should convey that the hospital would be under the administrative and medical control of Harbor-UCLA.
Supervisors are expected to vote on the county's reorganization plan in less than two weeks (Merl, Los Angeles Times, 10/8).
Mercy General Hospital and Sacred Heart Parish School have reached an agreement allowing the hospital to proceed with a $150 million expansion, Capital Public Radio's "KXJZ News" reports. According to CPR, Sacred Heart opposed the expansion because of the long period of disruption for construction and the lack of funding from Mercy to allow the school to reorient their buildings.
Mercy will pay Sacred Heart $15 million in the recent settlement for construction of a new school across the street from the current building and Mercy will purchase the school's current site (Kennedy, "KXJZ News," CPR, 10/9).
The complete transcript is available online. The complete segment is available online in Windows Media.
Saint Francis Memorial Hospital last week opened its new ED, San Francisco Examiner reports. The new facility is nearly double the size of the former ED and will provide services to people in Chinatown, Civic Center, Union Square and the Financial District.
The facility features:
- 19 beds;
- Two isolation units; and
- A decontamination room.
Officials expect to see up to 29,000 patients (Garcia, San Francisco Examiner, 10/12).
Sutter Health must pay back wages and interest to Sutter Roseville Medical Center employees who participated in a one-day strike in 2002, the Sacramento Bee reports. Sutter locked out the striking employees for four days after the strike, a move that an administrative law judge considered to be improper.
The National Labor Relations Board on Sept. 29 upheld that ruling.
Service Employees International Union United Healthcare Workers-West represents the employees and estimates that the settlement will cost Sutter about $200,000, or $444 per worker on average.
About 450 employees participated in the strike (Swett, Sacramento Bee, 10/12).