California Healthline Highlights Recent Hospital News
An official at Centinela Memorial Hospital has announced that about 150 employees would lose their jobs as part of the transfer of most medical services from the hospital to nearby Centinela Hospital, the Los Angeles Times reports.
The remainder of Memorial's 800 employees will be transferred to the two other campuses in the Centinela Freeman HealthSystem: nearby Centinela Hospital and Marina Hospital in Marina del Rey.
Centinela Freeman last month announced that Memorial's emergency department would close in December and that it would divert patients to Centinela Hospital. Acute rehabilitation and radiation therapy services will continue to be offered at Memorial, officials said (Quinones, Los Angeles Times, 10/19).
KPCC's "KPCC News" on Thursday reported on the staffing issues within the Centinela Freeman HealthSystem. The segment includes comments from Barbara Lewis, director of hospitals and clinics in Southern California for the Service Employees International Union's United Health Care Workers-West (Myrow, "KPCC News," KPCC, 10/19).
The complete segment is available online in RealPlayer.
The Valley Health System board on Wednesday unanimously approved a new contract that will provide salary increases and enhanced benefits for employees of its three hospitals, Riverside Press-Enterprise reports.
The new contract applies to Hemet Valley Medical Center, Moreno Valley Community Hospital and Menifee Valley Medical Center.
The contract applies to all employees and includes:
- A 5.5% salary increase this year;
- A 5.75% increase next year;
- Adoption of a wage scale in 2008; and
- A 4% increase of the wage scale in 2009.
Children's Hospital on Thursday announced a $4 million pledge from Paramount Farms over the next four years, the Fresno Bee reports.
The hospital will name a 50,000-square-foot addition for Paramount Farms. The expansion, planned for completion by 2010, will include more space for the ED, and imaging and surgical areas.
Joel Epstein, director of charitable giving for Paramount, said that Paramount Farms has donated more than $67,000 to the hospital since April.
Paramount Farms, based in Los Angeles, is one of the largest growers of tree crops in the world (Correa, Fresno Bee, 10/19).
Contra Costa County Supervisor John Gioia on Monday said that the county's plan to save Doctors Medical Center from closing will meet federal regulations, the Contra Costa Times reports.
The plan proposes that the county sign a joint-powers agreement with the West Contra Costa Healthcare District, which owns the hospital. The county would transfer up to $10 million to the state, with the state using the money to qualify for matching federal funds that could be paid to the hospital's owner (Lochner, Contra Costa Times, 10/17).
Before it could be implemented, the plan needs approval by the:
- Health care district;
- Bankruptcy court judge; and
- California Medical Assistance Commission.
Highland Hospital in Oakland opened an outpatient infusion center Friday as part of a plan to reduce drug costs and improve the quality of patient care, the Contra Costa Times reports.
The facility serves patients who need intravenous therapy, including chemotherapy, antibiotics and blood transfusions. Such treatments typically take 30 minutes to eight hours to administer.
Most insurance providers do not reimburse hospitals for drugs that are administered on an inpatient basis. Therefore, hospital administrators realized they could save thousands of dollars in drug costs and free up space by setting up the outpatient center.
The new facility, along with other program changes, is estimated to save the hospital $3 million a year (Vesely, Contra Costa Times, 10/16).
John Muir hospitals and Blue Cross of California on Thursday extended their agreement for one week while contract negotiations continue, the Contra Costa Times reports (Avalos, Contra Costa Times, 10/20). The hospitals and insurer on Wednesday announced an interim agreement in which the insurer agreed to cover the treatment of patients with certain pre-existing conditions.
About 36,500 Blue Cross members receive services at John Muir's hospitals. (Avalos, Contra Costa Times, 10/19).
Kaiser Permanente last month established the Latino Health Center to prevent and treat diabetes, high-blood pressure and obesity, the Sacramento Bee reports. Latinos suffer from these ailments at a disproportionate percentage.
Dr. Juan Moreno said that the center is geared toward providing "culturally appropriate" care to its Latino patients.
The center features a full bicultural and bilingual staff, including:
- Three physicians;
- Four medical assistants;
- A behavioral medicine specialist;
- A clinic health educator; and
- A physical therapist (Louey, Sacramento Bee, 10/16).
KPCC's "AirTalk" on Wednesday included a discussion of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors' unanimous approval this week of a plan outlining the reduction of services at Martin Luther King Jr./Drew University Medical Center and the transfer of management to Harbor-UCLA Medical Center.
The segment includes comments from County Department of Health Services Director Bruce Chernof and Zev Yaroslavsky, a Los Angeles County supervisor (Mantle, "AirTalk," KPCC, 10/18).
The complete segment is available online in RealPlayer.
Selma Community Hospital will construct a facility to house new radiology equipment, the Fresno Bee reports. Adventist Health is spending $1.7 million on the expansion and plans to begin construction next month.
The facility will house a new MRI machine that features parallel imaging. The facility also will provide more space for existing radiology services at the hospital, including imaging equipment such as bone densitometry for osteoporosis patients, officials said.
Officials say that the facility is intended to keep patients from having to travel to Fresno for care (Correa, Fresno Bee, 10/17).
Blue Shield of California and University of California-Los Angeles hospitals in Westwood and Santa Monica last week announced that both parties have agreed on contract terms, allowing Blue Shield members to seek care at either hospital again, the Los Angeles Times reports.
About 4,000 Blue Shield members were directed to other facilities after contract negotiations broke up over payment rates (Yi, Los Angeles Times, 10/14).