California Healthline Highlights Recent Hospital News
Doctors Medical Center officials on Thursday said they were considering options to compel Stanislaus County to provide medical services for low-income residents, alleging that the county's plan to relocate health services from the Scenic Drive campus in Modesto violates a 1997 agreement with Tenet Healthcare, which owns DMC, the Modesto Bee reports.
According to the Bee, Tenet could notify the county of a dispute and request a meeting. The issue would proceed to binding arbitration if it is not resolved within 30 days, the contract between Tenet and the county states.
County officials said they are drafting a response to concerns DMC officials raised on Tuesday at a county Board of Supervisors meeting (Carlson, Modesto Bee, 10/21).
Palomar Pomerado Health on Tuesday was scheduled to present preliminary plans for a clinic in Rancho Penasquitos to the hospital district's board of directors, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.
The satellite facility would offer primary care, outpatient services and medical imaging in a building with 45,000 to 55,000 square feet. Pediatrics and outpatient women's care services also are under consideration. The facility would cost $5 million to $6 million and would be tentatively scheduled to open in fall 2007. The district must secure a zoning change on the proposed site if the facility is to be built (Snow, San Diego Union-Tribune, 10/19).
Parkview Community Hospital has laid off 20 workers in admitting, security, human resources and other areas not directly affecting patient care in a move that administrators called "mid-course correction," the Riverside Press-Enterprise reports.
Hospital CEO Douglas Drumwright said the hospital was not losing money and that it was averaging more patients per day than it did when it filed for bankruptcy protection in 2002. The hospital employs about 1,100 full-time and part-time workers (Beeman, Riverside Press-Enterprise, 10/18).
Riverside Community Hospital has closed its outpatient surgery center and set aside two operating rooms in the hospital for outpatient surgeries, the Press-Enterprise reports.
Hospital officials attributed the move to its need for hospital buildings to comply with state seismic safety requirements. The hospital currently is spending about $8 million to renovate the surgery center, including $6 million for three new heart-catheterization labs (Beeman, Riverside Press-Enterprise, 10/15).
San Mateo Medical Center on Tuesday received the first $374,603 of a $1.8 million grant to research new methods of testing for HIV in the virus's early stages, the Oakland Tribune reports. The hospital will partner with Stanford University and the San Francisco Department of Public Health. Four other grants were awarded to centers at universities across California (Ernde, Oakland Tribune, 10/15).
Hospitals in San Joaquin County could lose as much as $20 million in Medi-Cal funding under a plan under consideration in Congress to cut Medicaid by $10 billion nationwide. The proposed cuts currently are "stalled" as Congress considers funding related to hurricane recovery efforts on the Gulf Coast, the Stockton Record reports.
According to Ken Cohen, director of Health Care Services for the county, the funding reduction, if approved, could further reduce the county's ability to treat indigent and uninsured patients because Medi-Cal is the primary source of revenue for San Joaquin General Hospital and other public health care facilities (Stockton Record, 10/19).
The University of California-San Francisco has raised $1.6 billion, with some funds earmarked for medical research and patient care, the San Jose Mercury News reports.
According to the Mercury News, UCSF seven years ago launched the fundraising campaign -- the largest in the U.S. "dedicated exclusively to saving lives and improving human health," according to the university -- to help offset reduced state funding, building costs related to aging buildings and increased health care costs. Currently, state funding accounts for about 9% of UCSF's annual operating budget, according to the university (Marshall, San Jose Mercury News, 10/20).
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, much of the funding will go toward construction of new buildings and research centers at UCSF's Mission Bay campus. The largest donation from an individual contributor, $35 million, will go toward a new cancer research building at Mission Bay, scheduled to open in 2008 (Perlman, San Francisco Chronicle, 10/20).
In addition, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation donated $28 million to study the spread of AIDS in Africa. Another $1.7 million will be allocated to study the nursing shortage, and $12 million will be dedicated for stem cell research and UCSF's new Institute for Stem Cell and Tissue Biology (Lin, Los Angeles Times, 10/21).
Other priorities for the funding include education, patient care and community outreach (San Jose Mercury News, 10/20).