California Healthline Highlights Recent Hospital News
The city of Palmdale in August filed a lawsuit against the Antelope Valley Hospital District, claiming that the district is not complying with an agreement to provide 24-hour noncritical emergency care and expedited ambulance service at a clinic it operates, the Los Angeles Daily News reports.
Palmdale officials are seeking a court order from Los Angeles Superior Court to force the district to provide 24-hour emergency and ambulance services at the clinic. The city alleges that the district is not honoring a June 2000 agreement to provide those services in exchange for as much as $1 million in street, utility and other improvements that were made to aid the clinic's construction.
Currently, the clinic provides service 16 hours a day and does not provide ambulance services.
The lawsuit cites the empty physician office suites built as part of the project as violating the spirit of agreement. It also alleges that the district breached contract again when it entered into a lease agreement with Los Angeles County for use of the first floor of the facility (Skeen, Los Angeles Daily News, 9/12).
The Kern County Board of Supervisors on Monday unanimously approved a physician practice plan for Kern Medical Center with some conditions, the Bakersfield Californian reports.
Supervisors agreed to pay physicians market-rate salaries, increase KMC's competitiveness in the health care market and standardize pay within departments, but the board said the plan should address physician salaries in greater details and establish timecard rules for doctors with private practices.
Currently, many KMC doctors are allowed to collect fees from their private practices above their county base salaries.
The board's decisions come after an independent audit identified issues in the doctor pay plan, including higher-than-average compensation in some cases, poor financial accounting and lack of internal controls.
A plan to measure physician performance will be presented later (Behziz, Bakersfield Californian, 9/12).
Santa Rosa del Valle this month is scheduled to open a health center next to Oasis Elementary School using a federal grant of more than $1.8 million over three years, the Riverside Press-Enterprise reports. The 3,590-square-foot center will be open five days a week.
Santa Rosa, which has operated mobile health clinics since 1998, in the future plans to open a pharmacy at the clinic so residents will not have to travel to Indio or Coachella to fill prescriptions. Other planned services include X-rays, obstetrics and mental health.
The center initially will be staffed by a nurse practitioner and part-time pediatrician, but additional staff could be hired if demand necessitates it (Olson, Riverside Press-Enterprise, 9/11).
An additional trauma center in the San Gabriel Valley likely will not open for another five years, according to a report by Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center, the San Gabriel Valley Tribune reports. The hospital found that it would lose about $7 million a year while serving more than 1,000 additional patients.
The hospital board reviewed the report and voted against the center Sept. 8 (Dai, San Gabriel Valley Tribune, 9/12).
Hospital officials said that space constraints at its current facility and an inadequate supply of nurses and qualified surgeons willing to staff the facility contributed to the decision (Covarrubias/Chong, Los Angeles Times, 9/16).
As a short-term remedy, local and county officials are working to bring 24-hour helicopter service to the area (San Gabriel Valley Tribune, 9/12).
Fremont-Rideout Health Group in June will spend $54 million to upgrade Rideout Memorial Hospital in Marysville as part of a move to reorganize the health group's presence in Yuba-Sutter from two medium-service hospitals to one large hospital, the Marysville Appeal-Democrat reports.
The group plans to use Rideout as its center for acute and inpatient care and Fremont Medical Center as an outpatient facility, serving an estimated 153,000 patients a year (Thigpen, Appeal-Democrat, 9/11).
The High Desert will need to double the number of hospital beds from 470 to 916 by 2030 to correspond with a growth in population of 330,000 to half a million by 2020, state and federal projections conclude, the Victor Valley Daily Press reports.
Bob Diehl, vice president of planning at St. Mary Medical Center, said the hospital, which currently operates 186 beds, expects to invest $250 million over the next 20 to 24 years to facilitate an expansion. He said the hospital also plans to hire another 1,100 to 1,500 employees.
According to Diehl, the hospital is developing two or three expansion scenarios, including a build-out at the current site and possibly another facility such as a clinic or an added campus (Stinson, Victor Valley Daily Press, 9/12).
A committee last week advised Mayor Gavin Newsom (D) that the rebuilding of San Francisco General Hospital should take place at its current site on Potrero Avenue in the Mission District, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
The proposal for the project, which is estimated to cost more than $808 million, could go to voters next year. The hospital must be rebuilt to adhere to state earthquake safety regulations.
The committee's recommendation will be forwarded to the mayor and later to the San Francisco Health Commission and Board of Supervisors for consideration. If approved, the bond measure would be the largest general obligation bond in city history. It requires at least two-thirds support for approval (Gordon, San Francisco Chronicle, 9/10).
Voters approved an $85 million general obligation bond Tuesday to fund a construction project that will nearly double the size of Tulare District Hospital and bring it in compliance with state seismic safety standards, the Fresno Bee reports.
Out of 20,000 ballots mailed to voters last month, 82% of the 7,668 votes returned approved the measure, which needed two-thirds of all votes to pass.
The project will include a three- or four-story addition to the hospital that will triple the size of the emergency department and add 12 ED beds. The maternity ward will receive six to eight more patient rooms. Three more hospital rooms and an additional 30 to 40 beds also will be added to the general hospital (Fresno Bee, 9/14).