California Healthline Highlights Recent Hospital News
Dallas-based Tenet Healthcare on Dec. 31, 2005, finalized the sale of the two-campus Community & Mission Hospitals of Huntington Park for $4 million to Hollywood-based Karykeion, Los Angeles Business reports.
The sale of the hospitals is part of an effort by Tenet to sell 27 hospitals in California. Tenet has completed the sale of all but two of the 27 facilities (Los Angeles Business, 1/3).
El Camino Hospital will close its subacute-care unit starting January 2006 and open a new acute-care facility in 2009, the San Jose Mercury News reports. The 44 patients in the subacute unit will have three years to find alternative care, according to hospital officials.
The Service Employees International Union Local 715 opposes the closure, saying that the hospital is closing the program to create space for a new program that will treat more patients with private insurance plans (Wronge, San Jose Mercury News, 12/29/05).
At least six Inland psychiatric hospitals or hospital-based wards have closed within the past six years, causing some patients with mental illnesses to seek care in hospital emergency departments while they wait for an open bed, the Riverside Press-Enterprise reports.
Mental health officials in Riverside and San Bernardino counties are considering options for addressing the lack of psychiatric beds, such as creating or expanding residential treatment programs, outpatient clinics and crisis centers that could shorten or prevent hospital stays.
County officials also are considering uses for Proposition 63 funds to create programs that reduce the need for hospital visits by people with mental illnesses (Beeman, Riverside Press-Enterprise, 12/27/05).
Not-for-profit hospitals in San Francisco should provide more charity care, because they received tax breaks totaling about $81.9 million in fiscal year 2004, according to a report by the city's Department of Public Health, the San Francisco Examiner reports.
The report notes that limited access to care for patients who are uninsured or covered by Medi-Cal and seek care in emergency departments, eligibility rules and a "burdensome" application process pose obstacles for hospitals in providing timely charity care, according to the Examiner.
San Francisco General Hospital provides the majority of charity care in the city, although the rate of care has decline after an ordinance was issued in 2001 requiring hospitals to post charity care notices and report how much charity care is provided annually (Eslinger, San Francisco Examiner, 12/28/05).
A mold problem at St. John's Regional Medical Center "does not present a health hazard to patients, employees or visitors" and the hospital has "taken additional steps to assure the mold will not become a problem in the future," according to a hospital spokesperson, the Ventura County Star reports.
The hospital has been removing the mold for at least two years. A 2003 lawsuit brought against 15 contractors that allegedly failed to resolve the problem is in arbitration. A hearing in the case is scheduled for May (Levin, Ventura County Star, 12/29/05).
Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital has received a $5 million donation to build a two-story heart care center, the Santa Rosa Press Democrat reports.
With the donation, the hospital has raised $9 million of $11.5 million needed to build the center. St. Joseph's Health Systems, the hospital's parent organization, will contribute an additional $11.5 million for the project.
The new facility will include a surgery suite with two operating rooms, two catheterization labs, a 10-bed observation unit and nine recovery beds. Construction is expected to begin in January 2007 (Benfell, Santa Rosa Press Democrat, 12/27/05).
Sutter Delta Medical Group -- which is affiliated with Sutter Delta Medical Center, the only acute care hospital in the area -- in the next few years will double its physician staff and build a 25,000-square-foot office building, the Contra Costa Times reports.
The medical group currently has seven doctors and four anesthesiologists on staff in several offices, and it plans to add 10 family care physicians in the next three years. The group also plans to consolidate its staff into a single medical office building.
The group also will consider opportunities in Discovery Bay, Oakley and Pittsburg (Tribble, Contra Costa Times, 1/5).
Valley Healthcare Systems -- which was one of the Sacramento region's 100 fastest-growing companies in 2005 -- has purchased Licensed Medical Staffing, which has established contracts in Arizona and New Mexico, as well as other parts of California. Capital Public Radio's "KXJZ News" reports.
According to Capital Public Radio, Valley Healthcare's revenue in 2002 was $400,000, and the company in 2006 anticipates $12 million in billings (Kennedy, "KXJZ News," Capital Public Radio, 1/4).
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