California Healthline Highlights Recent Hospital News
Antelope Valley Hospital ended fiscal year 2004-2005 with an operating budget surplus of about $66,000, compared with a nearly $14 million loss in FY 2003-2004, the Los Angeles Daily News reports.
According to hospital officials, net patient revenue increased by $11.2 million, or 6%, to $196.4 million for the year ending June 30. Investment income increased by $3 million.
In addition, the hospital added the equivalent of 47 full-time staff positions, or a 2.3% increase.
The hospital reduced spending on temporary nurses by $3.5 million and legal and consulting fees by $1.5 million. Total operating expenses declined by 1.3% to $205.2 million.
The hospital projects that it will operate within its current $218 million budget for FY 2005-2006 (Maeshiro, Los Angeles Daily News, 12/5).
Service Employees International Union Local 715 on Thursday announced that 1,412 employees at Stanford and Lucile Packard hospitals would strike on Monday for 24 hours, the San Francisco Examiner reports. About 1,260 support personnel employed at Stanford University who also are represented by SEIU will join the strike.
Hospital employees are seeking 30% pay increases over three years in a new contract. The hospitals have offered 12% pay increases (Artz, San Francisco Examiner, 12/9).
The Sacramento City Council on Wednesday approved a $460 million proposal to build a medical complex on several block surrounding Sutter General Hospital, the Sacramento Bee reports.
The Sutter regional medical complex will include a women's and children's hospital, helicopter pad and parking garage. The council said the project will serve as a model for in-fill development and is widely supported by neighborhood groups.
The Service Employees International Union opposed the project and said its environmental analysis was insufficient (Hardy, Sacramento Bee, 12/7).
Capital Public Radio's "KXJZ News" on Thursday reported on the approval. The segment includes comments from John Borsos, vice president of the Service Employees International Union Local 250, and Tom Gagen, Sutter CEO (Milne, "KXJZ News," CPR, 12/8).
The complete transcript is available online. The complete segment is available online in Windows Media.
About 500 licensed vocational nurses, certified nursing assistants and technicians represented by the Service Employees International Union United Healthcare Workers-West on Wednesday voted to authorize a strike at the Sutter Roseville Medical Center, the Sacramento Bee reports.
The union's contract with the hospital expired Nov. 2 but was extended until Dec. 20. The earliest a strike could occur is Dec. 21.
Union members are seeking a union-management training fund, arbitration for staffing disputes and an agreement to not fight union efforts to organize the hospital's nonunion workers.
Sutter spokesperson Robin Montgomery said that she hopes contract negotiations conclude without a strike, adding that the hospital is concerned about the "neutrality agreement" over new union organizing (Osterman, Sacramento Bee, 12/8).
Temecula city staff recommended that a review of plans to build a 35-acre hospital complex be continued until Jan. 4 because the city has not responded to written complaints submitted by residents, the Riverside Press-Enterprise reports. The facility would be the first hospital in Temecula.
Residents have complained about the size of the proposed complex, the height of the facility's five- and six-story towers, access to and from a main road and the location of the facility's helipad (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 12/5).
The University of California-San Francisco has postponed construction of a children, women and cancer center at Mission Bay because of increasing construction costs, the San Francisco Examiner reports.
UCSF had planned to complete the new 210-bed hospital by 2013 to meet state seismic rules, but construction cost estimates for the project have increased from $700 million to $1.2 billion over the past two years.
UCSF Medical Center CEO Mark Laret said that completing the project by 2013 is "unrealistic" but that the university still will pursue construction of a specialty hospital on the site. Construction for the project could begin in 2015, Laret said.
UCSF now must retrofit the 75-bed Mt. Zion Hospital in the Western Addition. Laret said the cost of the retrofit is lower than the cost of building a new hospital (Fancher, San Francisco Examiner, 12/6).
More than 100 people on Dec. 2 attended the groundbreaking ceremony for the California Heart and Surgical Hospital, the Riverside Press-Enterprise reports.
Bill Arsenault, CEO of the specialty center, said the hospital is expected to treat about 2,000 patients in its first year and will not impact revenue of other area hospitals (Santschi, Riverside Press-Enterprise, 12/3).
Community Medical Centers in Clovis is working to address problems at the hospital after the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Hospital Organizations issued a "preliminary denial of accreditation" last summer, the Fresno Bee reports.
JCAHO after an inspection in June issued a report citing 11 areas for improvement, including ensuring that workers' qualifications match their job responsibilities, caregivers communicate among themselves more effectively and information is properly presented during the accreditation process.
Charlene Hill, a spokesperson for JCAHO, said the hospital remains accredited "because they are given an opportunity to appeal the decision" but must address the problems to retain the accreditation (Correa, Fresno Bee, 12/3).
The Department of Veterans Affairs is considering offers from Stanislaus and San Joaquin counties to build a $70-million, 120-bed nursing home and outpatient clinic, the Modesto Bee reports.
The center would provide services including primary care, optometry, podiatry, hearing care, dental, women's health, mental health, radiology, pharmacy and long-term care.
Stanislaus County said it would donate 15 acres for the center and provide financial assistance to develop the site. San Joaquin County's proposal includes a donation of eight acres next to the county hospital in French Camp.
Veterans Affairs Secretary Jim Nicholson will analyze the counties' proposals and make a recommendation on where to build the center in February. A VA advisory board also proposed rebuilding the nursing home at the Livermore VA medical campus (Carlson, Modesto Bee, 12/8).
Indian Valley Hospital will close "unless something happens in the next few months" to improve the facility's financial situation, according to Susan Neer, director of human resources at the hospital, the Sacramento Bee reports.
The hospital closed its emergency department in January because of financial problems and stopped accepting acute-care patients in November because of a nurse shortage. Neer said if the acute-care department at the hospital closes, the 19-bed long-term care section also will close.
Neer is "optimistic" that a nurse from a neighboring community will begin working at the hospital in January to maintain minimum staffing requirements, and a hospital board member said at least four registered nurses and additional physicians are being recruited, the Sacramento Bee reports (Braxton Little, Sacramento Bee, 12/6).
Kaiser Permanente is looking for a 50-acre site in Natomas to build a large medical office building, the Sacramento Bee reports. The proposed medical office building would house 32 physicians, but that number could increase.
Facilities constructed in Natomas would be part of a $3.2-billion Kaiser expansion plan for the Sacramento region over 15 years (Werkman, Sacramento Bee, 12/8).
Building a 453-bed hospital in Escondido's business park would have a comparable environmental effect to previous plans for the park, according to a report by the Palomar Pomerado Health District, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.
The hospital district's board of directors on Tuesday unanimously approved its environmental review. The district is requesting that the review be filed as an addendum to a 2002 review because the study results are the same.
The report found that a hospital would generate an average of about 17,000 vehicle trips daily, about 6,950 more than was expected for the business park. However, the district proposed additional driveways and driveway entrances to mitigate the effects of the increased traffic (Lee, San Diego Union-Tribune, 12/8).
In related news, a local not-for-profit group called North County Health Care Coalition is proposing that the health care district instead construct a smaller hospital in San Marcos and expand the existing facility in Escondido (Lee, San Diego Union-Tribune, 12/9).
Petaluma Valley Hospital is seeking public funding to cover the remaining costs of a $1 million digital imaging center and other electronic technology for its intensive care unit, the Santa Rosa Press Democrat reports.
The hospital has secured pledges for 80% of the funds, according to hospital spokesperson Kevin Andrus (Santa Rosa Press Democrat, 12/2).
St. John's Regional Medical Center will close its geriatric center by the end of the month, the Ventura County Star reports. The center, which is the only geropsychiatric unit in the county, will be converted into an acute care unit to provide additional beds for the hospital ED.
Hospital spokesperson Rita O'Connor said new Medicare reimbursement rates implemented in July were inadequate to sustain operations at the center (Hoops, Ventura County Star, 12/6).