California Healthline Rounds Up Recent Hospital News
San Francisco-based Catholic Healthcare West, which owns Mercy General Hospital in Sacramento, on Sept. 30 reported a 40% increase in profits for the fiscal year that ended June 30. CHW reported net income of $348.2 million, compared with $248.8 million during the previous year, the Sacramento Bee reports.
Operating income for the year increased by 35% to $201.6 million, and revenue increased by 11% to $6 billion. CHW President and CEO Lloyd Dean said the results mark the fifth consecutive year the company had exceeded earnings from the previous year (Kasler, Sacramento Bee, 10/1).
The Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West Local 250 on Monday filed a lawsuit against California Pacific Medical Center seeking an injunction to prevent the hospital and Sutter Health, its parent company, from hiring replacement workers as union members continue a three-week-old strike, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
SEIU members began a 10-day strike at eight hospitals operated by Sutter over contract disputes. On Sept. 13, the workers began an additional strike at CPMC, claiming the hospital abandoned an agreement with a federal mediator, a charge hospital officials deny.
According to attorney William Sokol, who represents SEIU, CPMC and Sutter are violating state and city laws prohibiting the use of replacement workers or employment services whose purpose is to break up labor actions. He said CPMC and Sutter are hiring replacement workers from firm Modern Industrial Services to end the strike.
CPMC spokesperson Christine McMurry said the suit is without merit and should be dismissed (Tansey, San Francisco Chronicle, 10/5).
Dallas-based Tenet Healthcare plans to sell the 81-bed Community Hospital of Huntington Park and the 109-bed Mission Hospital of Huntington Park to Karykeion, a company owned by 25 physicians who work at the hospitals, the Dallas Business Journal reports. The physicians formed Karykeion to purchase and operate the two hospitals, the Business Journal reports. As part of the agreement, Karykeion will offer positions at the hospitals primarily to the facilities' current employees. Tenet expects to receive about $3 million from the deal, which is expected to close in the next several months (Dallas Business Journal, 10/3).
The Office of Health Planning and Development gave Community Regional Medical Center final approval to begin using Cyberknife, an advanced and accurate machine used to treat cancerous tumors, the Fresno Bee reports. Cyberknife targets tumors by using robotics and "technology developed to guide cruise missiles," the Bee reports.
The machine gives high doses of radiation with precision that does not harm healthy tissues and organs. The nonsurgical procedure does not require incisions or anesthesia, is not painful and has a short recovery time (Correa, Fresno Bee, 10/7).
The new, 225-bed Kaiser Modesto Medical Center will have a cardiology unit for stress tests, angiograms and diagnostics, but officials have not decided whether to include bypass surgeries and other procedures to treat blocked coronary arteries in the hospital's services, the Modesto Bee reports.
The $500 million medical campus is scheduled to open in 2007 (Carlson, Modesto Bee, 10/6).
San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday said it will try to persuade city officials in Tracy to abandon their plan to relocate services at the Livermore Veterans Affairs Medical Center from the current site on Arroyo Road in Livermore to Tracy, the Oakland Tribune reports.
The city of Tracy, Sutter Tracy Community Hospital and Tracy Gateway in July submitted a bid to VA proposing the Tracy location. However, San Joaquin supervisors support a plan to relocate services to a site next to San Joaquin General Hospital in French Camp.
San Joaquin supervisors say the French Camp site is accessible to veterans outside the county. In addition, the site includes a new veterans clinic and has a dialysis clinic under construction, they said.
On Tuesday, supervisors said they will try to persuade the Tracy bidders to drop their proposal, arguing that the competing proposals would "cancel each other out" and increase the likelihood that the VA would approve a third proposal from Stanislaus County, according to the Tribune (Mahler, Oakland Tribune, 10/5).
The price for the site of the former Oak Knoll Naval Medical Center in Oakland Hills has reached $77 million with a bid placed Thursday, the Contra Costa Times reports.
The General Services Administration, in charge of auctioning the site, on Thursday announced the bid increment will be increased from $200,000 to $500,000 starting Monday. However, if no bids are received by Friday at 3 p.m., the auction will close.
If another bid is received, the auction will resume Tuesday. The 167-acre property, which is almost completely cleaned up, is considered prime real estate. Although bids are anonymous, GSA officials said some "familiar developers" are interested, the Times reports (Kurhi, Contra Costa Times, 10/7).
Victorville-based Prime Healthcare Systems has purchased the financially struggling Sherman Oaks Hospital, the Los Angeles Daily News reports. Although terms were not disclosed, no changes to management and staffing are expected.
Prime has committed to a $20 million expansion plan, which will convert a section of the hospital into a 19-bed holding area. The expansion also includes adding staff and increasing emergency department capacity.
Prime sent a letter to the Attorney General's Office, which must approve the deal. The letter states that the sale will remove the hospital's debt, although the company will need $50 million over the next five years to cover requirements (Wilcox, Los Angeles Daily News, 10/5).
University of California-Davis Cancer Center officials on Tuesday unveiled a plan to expand the center to 109,000 square feet -- nearly twice its current size -- and add a new building that will house the facility's children's cancer center, research offices, an expanded adult clinic and a larger adult chemotherapy center, the Sacramento Bee reports.
UCDCC officials said they have collected $16 million toward their goal of raising $35 million to fund the expansion. Donations to date include $10 million form the UC-Davis Health System and $5 million from the Oakland-based Wayne and Gladys Valley Foundation.
UCDCC Director Ralph deVere White said the center has seen a 50% increase in patient visits in the last five years and projects a 30% increase in the next five years.
Stephanie Bray, UCDCC's new development officer, said the growing patient demand had created a need for more space, particularly lab space that will help the center attract top researchers (Wasserman, Sacramento Bee, 10/5).
KXJZ's "Capital Public Radio" on Wednesday reported on the expansion plans. The segment includes comments from deVere White (Milne, "Capital Public Radio," KXJZ, 10/5). The complete transcript is available online. The complete segment is available online in Windows Media.