California Healthline Highlights Recent Hospital News
Community Medical Centers -- Fresno County's largest provider of Medi-Cal services -- notified the state on Jan. 20 that it will cancel its Medi-Cal contract by May 20 because reimbursement rates are too low, the Fresno Bee reports. The hospital system estimates that it is losing more than $1 million each month on Medi-Cal patients.
If the contract is canceled, only patients covered by traditional Medi-Cal -- and not those covered by a Medi-Cal managed care plan -- will be affected.
CMC officials said the cost of treating Medi-Cal patients has increased by 21% in the past three years, and under the current contract, the system is providing care at 36% below the cost of services.
State and federal officials said they expect that a new contract will be reached with acceptable terms (Correa, Fresno Bee, 2/1).
In related news, CMC began notifying employees on Tuesday and Wednesday that it would eliminate 175 staff positions to save about $9 million annually, the Fresno Bee reports.
The layoffs, effective March 31, will affect workers at Community Regional Medical Center, University Medical Center, Community Medical Center-Clovis, corporate offices and the Community Behavioral Health Center.
The hospital system had a $10.8 million loss for the fiscal year that ended in August 2004, and losses for FY 2005 were expected to be larger (Correa, Fresno Bee, 2/2).
There are "indications" that Sutter Health and the Marin Healthcare District board soon could begin negotiations to end a legal dispute over who should pay for the seismic retrofit or replacement of Marin General Hospital, the Sacramento Business Journal reports.
Sutter, whose contract expires in 2015, said it would not pay for the retrofit without another long-term lease and filed a lawsuit against the district over the matter in June. The district filed a counter suit in July.
If negotiations fail, Sutter and the district are expected to appear in court by September (Rauber, Sacramento Business Journal, 1/30).
Rancho Springs Medical Center officials on Jan. 23 voluntarily closed three of the hospital's five labor and delivery rooms to locate the source of a brown mold growing near sinks and eradicate the problem, the Riverside Press-Enterprise reports.
Teresa Fleege, a spokesperson for the hospital, said no patients or employees have reported mold-related health problems.
Repairs are being monitored by the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development (Beeman, Riverside Press-Enterprise, 1/28).
San Joaquin General Hospital's cash balance has declined by $30 million since July 2005 because of a new federal system for distributing Medicaid reimbursement that has delayed payment, the Stockton Record reports.
County Health Care Service Director Ken Cohen said the hospital has not received at least $40 million in reimbursements since July 1, but it is unknown when or how much of the money will be paid back.
The county will ask the state for a $20-million, interest-free loan. Cohen said the hospital might have to start turning away Medi-Cal patients and reduce programs for the uninsured if its financial situation does not improve (Kane, Stockton Record, 2/1).
Lucile Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford University and Good Samaritan Hospital in San Jose on Wednesday announced that they could not agree on terms for building a satellite children's hospital in South Bay, the San Jose Mercury News reports.
Officials from both hospitals would not comment on the negotiations, but observers of the talks said the patient population in the area might not be large enough to warrant a new children's hospital.
Jeffrey Kanel -- a pediatric orthopedic surgeon and a member of the Silicon Valley Children's Hospital Foundation board, which is trying to start the children's hospital -- said no area hospitals have been willing to give up their full share of the pediatric market (Feder Ostrov, San Jose Mercury News, 2/2).
The University of California-Davis Medical Center lost its designation as a "magnet" hospital for nurses because of irregularities at the facility and disagreements over labor contracts, according to hospital officials, the Sacramento Business Journal reports (Robertson, Sacramento Business Journal, 1/30).
To receive the "magnet" designation, hospitals must demonstrate a management style that enfranchises nurses and promotes continuing education. Hospitals are assessed partly through on-site visits.
The American Nurses Credentialing Center reviewed the hospital in September, during a contract dispute between the UC hospital system and the California Nurses Association (Osterman, Sacramento Bee, 1/30).
Neither the hospital nor ANCC would release the report.
The hospital will not appeal the decision because contract negotiations with the union will reopen in the spring, according to nursing chief Carol Robinson (Sacramento Business Journal, 1/30).
UCDMC has been named a "magnet" hospital for nearly 10 years (Sacramento Bee, 1/30).
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.
The University of California-San Diego Medical Center "has relieved [Marquis] Hart of his administrative responsibilities as director" of the hospital's liver and kidney transplant programs because of concerns that he misled federal officials about working full time at UC-Irvine Medical Center's liver transplant program, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. UCI's liver transplant program was shut down in the fall (Clark, San Diego-Union-Tribune, 2/2).
According to a statement from the hospital, Hart "was found to have participated" in providing inaccurate information in July and December 2004 to a government contractor overseeing transplant programs.
Hart will remain a transplant surgeon at UCS but will no longer have administrative responsibilities (Ornstein, Los Angeles Times, 2/2).