California Healthline Highlights Recent Hospital News
SEIU United Healthcare Workers-West officials on Nov. 11 announced that a new contract with California Pacific Medical Center has been ratified and employees were to return to work this week, the Sacramento Bee reports.
Union members voted 97% to 3% to approve the two-and-a-half-year contract. The new contract will establish a joint union-management training fund and allow workers to comment on staffing levels. The hospital also agreed not to hold mandatory anti-union meetings with employees if UHW tries to organize nonunion CPMC workers (Osterman, Sacramento Bee, 11/12).
A merger between former county hospital University Medical Center and Community Medical Center likely will take longer than expected because of financial problems within the hospital system, CMC CEO Tim Joslin told the Fresno County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, the Fresno Bee reports. According to Joslin, low reimbursements for government health programs and a lack of physicians have contributed to problems in the hospital network.
Community agreed to merge UMC's Level 1 trauma center and burn unit with its downtown campus. Although some progress has been made, new operating rooms have not been completed and $70 million to $90 million is needed for new equipment, Joslin said.
Joslin said CMC likely would need to continue using UMC for some outpatient services, and possibly as an urgent-care center. Joslin and Supervisor Susan Anderson agreed to discuss the matter further.
Joslin also said CMC expects a $7 million loss for the fiscal year ending in August 2005. A hospital spokesperson said actual losses could be more than $10 million, the Fresno Bee reports (Correa, Fresno Bee, 11/16).
O'Connor Hospital officials on Tuesday gave 60-day layoff notices to 113 employees, or 15% of the hospital's work force, the San Jose Mercury News reports.
Sixty-seven of the positions to be eliminated are in the O'Connor Home Care and Home Pharmacy programs, which will close in mid-January. Ten of those workers are registered nurses who will be eligible for positions at the hospital. The other laid-off employees include administrative, clinical and support staff.
Hospital officials say a 50% increase in Medi-Cal patients resulting from the closure of San Jose Medical Center last year has created financial problems for O'Connor. The layoffs and other cost-saving measures are expected to save the hospital $10 million annually. Other cost-saving measures include using a single vendor for medical devices and eliminating some programs that have not yet begun (Gonzales, San Jose Mercury News, 11/16).
A measure to levy a $32-per-parcel property tax to fund Palo Verde Hospital did not gain a two-thirds approval from voters last week, the Los Angeles Times reports. Sixty-four percent of voters approved the measure.
According to David Brooks, president of the community board that will run the acute-care facility, it is "going to take a near miracle" to raise the $5 million needed to transfer the hospital to local ownership without the tax.
The board said that it will seek funding from donations or grants or that the hospital might file for bankruptcy protection (Rosenblatt/Powers, Los Angeles Times, 11/10).