California Healthline Highlights Recent Hospital News
The Loma Linda University Children's Hospital has completed an expansion that includes 20 new birth center rooms and 12 additional neonatal intensive care unit beds, the Riverside Press-Enterprise reports. Nearly 3,000 babies are delivered at the birth center each year, according to hospital officials. The NICU now has 84 beds (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 7/31).
CMS began inspections of Martin Luther King Jr./Drew Medical Center on Monday to determine whether problems at the hospital have been adequately addressed, the Los Angeles Times reports. If the medical center does not pass any part of the inspection, it could lose up to $200 million in federal Medicare funding.
Los Angeles County supervisors say that if federal funding is lost, the hospital will have to be downsized, closed or placed under control of another entity.
William Loos, acting senior medical officer at the county health department, said, "We are cautiously optimistic that the survey will go well." The results of the review are expected to take several weeks (Ornstein, Los Angeles Times, 8/1).
KPCC's "AirTalk" on Tuesday included an interview with Charles Ornstein, staff writer for the Los Angeles Times, about the inspections at King/Drew (Mantle, "AirTalk," KPCC, 8/1). The complete segment is available online in RealPlayer.
In addition, KPCC's "KPCC News" on Monday reported on the inspections (Rabe, "KPCC News," KPCC, 7/31). The complete segment is available online in RealPlayer.
Ballots were mailed this week to voters in the Peninsula Health Care District for a measure that would allow the district to lease land to Mills-Peninsula Health Services, which is planning to replace the Peninsula Medical Center building, the Oakland Tribune reports.
Mills-Peninsula would pay the hospital district $1.5 million annually for 50 years to lease the property. The company plans to construct a $488 million facility on the site.
Hospital district officials urged voters to approve the measure quickly. Delaying approval could result in Mills-Peninsula paying higher costs for building materials and eliminating some nonessential features from the planned hospital.
Ballots must be received by Aug. 29. If the lease is approved, construction could begin in September. The new hospital is slated to open in early 2010 (Kinney, Oakland Tribune, 7/30).
Some patients at Riverside Community Hospital were not bathed or fed on time July 29 because of inadequate staffing levels, according to 13 complaints filed by nurse staff, the Riverside Press-Enterprise reports. The complaints, released Tuesday, accused the hospital of compromising patient safety with reduced staffing levels.
The hospital and nurses union are in contract negotiations over issues related to staffing, wages and forced overtime. The union has approved a one-day strike, but no date has been set.
Nurses said they were being overworked and did not have adequate support, the Press-Enterprise reports (Quan, Riverside Press-Enterprise, 8/2).
Union officials blamed inadequate staffing levels for a patient's suicide at Riverside Community Hospital on Monday, a charge hospital officials deny.
The patient was placed on 24-hour suicide watch but walked out of a fifth-floor emergency exit when the nurse assigned to look after him was securing another patient's restraints. The alarm did not sound (Burge/Quan, Riverside Press-Enterprise, 8/1). Union officials say the man was not being properly monitored (Rosenblatt, Los Angeles Times, 8/1).
Meanwhile, on July 29, all 20 to 25 nursing assistants at the hospital were told not to come to work or were sent home -- a move union officials said was unprecedented and compromised patient care.
Hospital spokesperson Tracy Dallarda said that there was a "medium to low" number of patients with acute needs on that day and that staff levels were adjusted accordingly. She added that it is "not unusual to get complaints like this" from union officials because the hospital and union are "in the thick of collective bargaining right now" (Quan, Riverside Press-Enterprise, 7/29).
Sutter Health officials on Thursday announced $14 million in donations for Sutter Medical Center's expansion project in Sacramento, the Sacramento Bee reports. The new hospital campus will feature four medical facilities, including a new women's and children's hospital.
The donations include $10 million from Enlow Ose and Melena Adams Ose, a Sacramento real estate developer and his wife, and $1 million from each of the following:
- Isabella M. Cowell Sutter Medical Center Endowment Trust;
- Setzer Foundation;
- Teichert Foundation; and
- An anonymous donor.
Capital Public Radio's "KXJZ News" on Friday reported on the donation. The segment includes comments from Adams Ose and Sutter CEO Tom Gagen (Milne, "KXJZ News," Capital Public Radio, 8/4).
The complete transcript and audio in Windows Media of the segment are available online. This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.