California Hospital News Roundup for the Week of April 10, 2009
Fairmont Hospital, Alameda
On April 8, hospital workers at Fairmont Hospital protested what they say are unsafe working conditions at the facility, the Contra Costa Times reports.
Speakers at the rally said they have been abused by patients at the hospital on a daily basis (Metinko, Contra Costa Times, 4/8).
Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian, Newport Beach
Hoag Hospital Foundation's CEO ranked first on Charity Navigator's list of the 10 highest-paid CEOs of low-rated charities, the Orange County Register's "OC Watchdog" reports.
Charity Navigator is a not-for-profit watchdog.
The group says the foundation, which raises money for Hoag Memorial, spent more on fundraising and significantly less on its central mission of transferring money to the hospital than Charity Navigator considers appropriate (Sforza, "OC Watchdog," Orange County Register, 4/6).
Loma Linda University Medical Center
Blue Shield of California and Blue Cross Anthem have named Loma Linda University Medical Center a Blue Distinction Center for Cardiac Care, the Redlands Daily Facts reports.
The designation signifies that the facility received acceptable scores from evaluators in areas such as cardiac care, cardiac rehabilitation and cardiac surgery (Redlands Daily Facts, 4/7).
Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center
State health inspectors levied a $560 fine on Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center after confirming employee complaints that helicopter exhaust fumes were entering the facility's ventilation system from the facility's rooftop landing pad, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Hospitals officials plan to appeal the fine, which was issued after a January inspection of the facility.
Helicopters are now being diverted to the old, ground-based landing pad, but the hospital said it has replaced improperly sealed filters and might reopen the rooftop pad (Lin, Los Angeles Times, 4/4).
Los Robles Hospital and Medical Center/Ventura County Medical Center/St. John's Regional Medical Center, Ventura County
Los Robles Hospital and Medical Center in Thousand Oaks, Ventura County Medical Center and St. John's Regional Medical Center in Oxnard will all apply for designation as county trauma centers, the Ventura County Star reports.
Los Robles is attempting to win designation as the eastern Ventura County trauma center, while the other two are competing to become the center of designation in the western part of the county.Â
County officials are putting together a request for proposals that will spell out the requirements of receiving trauma center designation, including that it has 24-hour trauma surgeons and can respond to crisis within 15 minutes.
The hospitals will be evaluated by an independent committee of trauma experts (Kisken, Ventura County Star, 4/1).
Scripps Memorial Hospital Encinitas
On April 3, the Encinitas Planning Commission unanimously approved a 250,430-square-foot expansion of Scripps Memorial Hospital Encinitas, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.
Neighbors near the facility had argued that the project would increase traffic in the area.
The $200 million expansion will raise Scripps Memorial's inpatient bed count from 138 to 226 and increase emergency department beds from 12 to 27.
As part of the ED wing expansion, there will be buildings focused on critical and acute care (Mannes, San Diego Union-Tribune, 4/3).
Tri-City Medical Center
On April 7, service workers at Tri-City Medical Center ratified their first labor contract with the hospital, the Union-Tribune reports.
Workers voted 119-25 in favor of United Healthcare Workers West (San Diego Union-Tribune, 4/8).
In related news, Tri-City Healthcare District officials approved a request to allow Tri-City's South Tower to remain open until 2030 without a seismic retrofit.
Tri-City's Center Tower, however, must be retrofitted to meet seismic-safety standards by 2013, or else be forced to close (Sherman, San Diego Union-Tribune, 4/3).
UC-Irvine Medical Center
UC-Irvine Medical Center is no longer at risk of losing Medicare and Medicaid funding, CMS officials said, the Register reports.
The hospital was at risk of losing funding after anesthesiologists last year were found to be filling out records before surgeries occurred.
In a follow-up inspection of the facility, CMS determined that the hospital now meets federal standards in patient care required to receive funding (Perkes, Orange County Register, 4/7).
USC University Hospital; Kenneth Norris Jr. Cancer Hospital
Tenet Healthcare on April 1 said it has completed the sale of USC University Hospital and Kenneth Norris Jr. Cancer Hospital to the University of Southern California, according to Tenet Healthcare, Los Angeles Business reports.
The sale, announced Feb. 10, will bring in about $275 million in cash proceeds.
About $30 million of the proceeds will be deferred and put into an escrow account for no more than four years (Los Angeles Business, 4/1).
Western Medical Center-Santa Ana; Western Medical Center-Anaheim; Chapman Medical Center, Orange; and Coastal Communities Hospital, Santa Ana
Integrated Healthcare Holdings -- which owns the Western Medical Centers in Santa Ana and Anaheim, Chapman Medical Center in Orange and Coastal Communities Hospital in Santa Ana -- will pay $2.7 million to settle nine lawsuits between the firm and a physician shareholder group dating back to 2007, the Register reports.
Orange County Physicians Investment Network, which then owned a majority share of IHHI, in a 2007 suit alleged that the firm's CEO had blocked attempts to refinance the company's debt even as it was losing money. OCPIN now owns 30% of the company, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.Marc Miles, an attorney for the physicians, said the $2.7 million settlement payment will go towards OCPIN's attorney fees and costs related to the litigation (Galvin, Orange County Register, 4/2). This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.