California Hospital News Roundup for November 21, 2007
On Tuesday, the Department of Public Health said it is investigating an incident at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in which three patients received an overdose of a blood thinner used to prevent clots, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Michael Langberg, the hospital's chief medical officer, said that "as a result of a preventable error," three children had their intravenous catheters flushed with a concentration of the blood thinner heparin 1,000 times the normal dosage.
A hospital spokesperson could not confirm the status of the patients, citing federal patient privacy law but noted that some children were moved to the neonatal intensive care unit as a precaution (Ornstein/Gorman, Los Angeles Times, 11/21).
Lucile Packard Children's Hospital will receive about $580,000 worth of technology equipment and a cash grant of $500,000 from the Hewlett-Packard Company Foundation to advance bioinformatics research, the San Francisco Business Journal reports.
The equipment includes notebook and desktop computers, monitors and LaserJet printers. Officials said the new technology will help advance the hospital's clinical transformation program in inpatient and outpatient areas, including the implementation of an electronic health record system.
In addition, HP is funding a one-year interdisciplinary research project that will create partnerships between Lucile Packard clinicians and researchers, as well as researchers from HP labs and HP Life Sciences (San Francisco Business Times, 11/19).
CDC officials last week completed an investigation of bacterial infections at Saint Agnes Medical Center but have not disclosed the findings from the two-week visit, the Fresno Bee reports.
The infections affected at least a dozen cardiac patients over the course of a few months. Two patients died during that period, but hospital officials have not directly linked the deaths to the infections.
CDC investigators made some recommendations that reinforced the hospital's current policies and procedures, according to officials.
Meanwhile, state health officials are investigating whether the hospital violated state law by failing to immediately report the infections to the local health officer and Department of Public Health. The hospital notified the state several months after the spike in infections (Correa/Anderson, Fresno Bee, 11/16).
For the second consecutive year, Sharp HealthCare has received the Malcolm Baldridge National Quality Award, the federal government's most prestigious award for businesses, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.
Sharp, the largest health system in San Diego County, was lauded for its financial performance, patient care and efforts to enhance the use of technology.
Sharp was one of five organizations to win the award. The competition considers several factors, including:
- Financial results;
- Clinical results of health systems; and
- Consumer satisfaction (Darcé, San Diego Union-Tribune, 11/21).
UC-Davis Health System saw a slight decline in income last fiscal year as UC-Davis Medical Center treated an increasing number of low-income patients and received lower Medi-Cal reimbursements, the Sacramento Business Journal reports.
New income dropped from $57.9 million in FY 2006 to $57.2 million in FY 2007, with a profit margin of 6.1%. However, income from operations dropped nearly 4% to $64.7 million after three consecutive years of gains.
Overall patient volume continued to increase at the facility. By 2010, the hospital is expected to open an expanded emergency department, surgery department and intensive-care unit.
Ann Rice, hospital CEO, said the population growth in the region and an aging population have added to the need for expanded services.
Earlier this month, UC-Davis opened an outpatient surgery center on its Sacramento campus to help alleviate the patient volume at the hospital (Robertson, Sacramento Business Journal, 11/16).
Washington Hospital has plans to build a new power plant before it undergoes renovations to meet state seismic safety guidelines by 2030, the Oakland Tribune reports.
Ed Fayen, associate administrator for the hospital, said the facility will begin a new round of bidding for the power plant project after the original bids were 30% over budget.
The $55 million power plant will take two years to build, after which other renovations to the hospital can begin. The plant will generate power for buildings that will be added during the renovations.
The $477 million seismic retrofit of the entire campus will be partially funded by a $190 million bond measure that voters approved in 2004 (Brown, Oakland Tribune, 11/19).