California Healthline Highlights Recent Hospital News
Blue Cross of California on Nov. 23 terminated its reimbursement contracts with Arroyo Grande Community Hospital and French Hospital Medical Center in San Luis Obispo, the San Luis Obispo Tribune reports.
It is unclear how many patients will be affected by the termination, the Tribune reports. However, patients currently in the hospital, those who have procedures scheduled, some special populations and those in need of emergency care will not be affected by the change.
French CEO Alan Iftiniuk said Blue Cross and the two hospitals still are negotiating and hope to resolve contract issues by next week (Welton, San Luis Obispo Tribune, 11/29).
Needles City Council members last week unanimously approved a resolution to designate Colorado River Medical Center as a critical access hospital, the Mohave Daily News reports.
City consultant John Wilson said the designation will reduce a projected $4 million loss for the hospital in 2006 to $2 million and approximately double reimbursements from Medicare and Medi-Cal. The designation also will allow the hospital to apply for certain grants.
The city council said at a hearing that it supports CRCM's parent company LifePoint Hospitals in filing for the designation with the Department of Health Services, "provided that this approval does not diminish, in any manner, LifePoint's obligation under the Lease and provided that LifePoint agrees in writing to vigorously pursue a rural health care clinic" (Choquette, Mohave Daily News, 11/27).
Kaiser Permanente this week mailed letters to 14,000 beneficiaries announcing that it will open health care clinics in Oxnard and Ventura, the Ventura County Star reports. The Oxnard clinic is scheduled to open in May and the Ventura clinic is scheduled to open in September.
Kaiser Permanente spokesperson John Lockhart said that when the Oxnard clinic opens, the company will cancel its contract with SeaView Independent Physicians Association, which provides services to Kaiser members at clinics in Thousand Oaks and Simi Valley. Contracts with the Buenaventura Medical Group are expected to continue through 2006, Lockhart said (McLain, Ventura County Star, 11/29).
Ninety-six percent of Stanford University workers on Monday voted to join Stanford University Medical Center employees in authorizing a strike after medical center employees last week rejected a contract offer, according to a spokesperson from the Service Employees International Union, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
Union members, including cooks, custodians and laboratory workers, are seeking expanded pension and health care benefits, SEIU spokesperson John Vellardita said.
Stanford Director of Communications Alan Acosta said the university is "committed to negotiating in good faith" when contract talks resume Dec. 8 (Rubenstein, San Francisco Chronicle, 11/29).
Tri-City Healthcare District officials have launched a marketing campaign to qualify a $400 million bond measure for the June 2006 ballot to fund emergency department expansion at Tri-City Medical Center, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.
According to hospital officials, Tri-City has the second busiest ED in the county, with waits lasting as long as eight hours. However, recent changes have reduced average wait times to 25 minutes, ED Director Richard Burruss said.
If the bond measure is approved, the money will be used for rebuilding and upgrading existing facilities by adding space for patient rooms and replacing wiring and ductwork for new technology (Klawonn, San Diego Union-Tribune, 11/24).
The University of California-Davis Cancer Center and California State University-Sacramento have signed an agreement to collaborate on reducing racial and ethnic disparities in cancer care and outcomes, the Sacramento Bee reports.
Under the agreement, the two facilities will develop programs to improve cancer education and outreach and increase cancer awareness. The universities also will seek national grants to develop and test methods for helping elderly patients manage cancer symptoms and improve their quality of life.
The universities also will sponsor a series of events on ovarian cancer and establish community networks to train Latino, black and American Indian health educators (Griffith, Sacramento Bee, 11/24).