California Healthline Highlights Recent Hospital News
Alta Bates Summit Medical Center on Thursday opened a new emergency department, the Oakland Tribune reports. The improvements mark the ED's first major renovations since 1968, when the original ED opened.
The original ED was designed to treat about 12,000 patients annually, but the ED currently treats about 44,000 patients annually. The original ED will be renovated over the next year. Upon completion, the $15.8 million project will provide about 12,000 square feet with 22 beds (Vesely, Oakland Tribune, 10/26).
The board of Doctors Medical Center on Tuesday approved a plan that would close the hospital's wound unit, restructure the chemical dependency unit and reduce use of the burn unit with the aim of cutting costs, the Contra Costa Times reports.
Under the plan, the wound unit would be closed and the outpatient wound program would be expanded. Wound patients would be treated in other hospital departments.
The chemical dependency unit would be restructured into a five-day inpatient detoxification program with an outpatient therapy group. The burn unit would be opened on an as-needed basis for severely burned patients who require certain treatments.
Peggy Lipper, DMC vice president for corporate development, said the plan would save about $2.375 million, mostly from reduced staff time.
DMC CEO Irwin Hansen noted that the plan is "only the beginning" of cuts the board hopes to make to eliminate a $9 million annual structural loss.
Hospital officials in September proposed closing all three units, but Hansen developed the alternate plan after hospital staff objected to the original proposal (Lochner, Contra Costa Times, 10/26).
KPCC's "KPCC News" on Wednesday reported on the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors 3-2 vote to extend by six months the county's current contract with Navigant Consulting to implement reforms at county-owned Martin Luther King Jr./Drew Medical Center (Myrow, "KPCC News," KPCC, 10/26).
In voting to award the six-month, $5.7 million contract extension to Navigant, the board rejected a competing bid by FTI Cambio Health Solutions. Cambio had proposed a $4.2 million contract with a $2 million bonus for meeting certain improvement goals (California Healthline, 10/26).
The KPCC segment includes comments from:
- Supervisors Mike Antonovich, Don Knabe and Zev Yaroslavsky;
- Antionette Smith Epps, who was named King/Drew CEO last week; and
- Larry Scanlan, managing director with Navigant's health care practice ("KPCC News," KPCC, 10/26).
Five unions last week filed a complaint with the Stanislaus County Assessor requesting an investigation of the tax-exempt status of the not-for-profit Memorial Medical Center, the Modesto Bee reports. Memorial is part of the Sutter Health system.
The complaint alleges that Memorial was exempt from about $104 million in income and property taxes between 2001 and 2004. For example, the hospital in 2003 saved $37.3 million in property and income taxes and provided $3.1 million in charity care, according to the complaint.
Sal Rosselli -- president of SEIU United Healthcare Workers West, one of the unions that filed the complaint -- said the complaint was filed to show that the public is not benefiting sufficiently from the hospital's tax-exempt status.
David Benn, CEO of the hospital, said the complaint focuses on only one aspect of charity care provided, adding that Memorial provides about $11 million in uncompensated care annually.
County Assessor Doug Harms said he plans to investigate the allegations and ask the state Board of Equalization for its opinion, which he expects to have in two weeks (Carlson, Modesto Bee, 10/27).
The San Diego Union-Tribune this week published a two-part interview with Michael Covert, president and CEO of Palomar Pomerado Health.
In the first part, Covert discussed PPH's expansion plans, including the renovation of Palomar Medical Center and construction of satellite clinics in Rancho Penasquitos and Ramona (Snow, San Diego Union-Tribune, 10/26).
Covert further discussed expansion plans, including a timeline and funding sources for the project, in the second part of the interview (Snow, San Diego Union-Tribune, 10/27).
The Lancaster Planning Commission on Tuesday approved a permit allowing the construction of a 20,000-square-foot office building to house mental health programs, the Los Angeles Daily News reports.
The National Mental Health Association of Greater Los Angeles (MHA) and InSite Development are planning the $18.4 million project. The complex, which will be constructed on city land, will include a 100-unit apartment complex with 35 units designated for disabled residents.
Under the agreement with the city, MHA will operate the facility as an outpatient clinic and not provide residential or day care for patients. MHA currently leases a 7,700-square-foot building.
Construction is expected to begin in March, with completion of the mental health building scheduled for late next year (Skeen, Los Angeles Daily News, 10/24).