California Hospital News Roundup for the Week of April 16, 2010
San Joaquin General Hospital, French Camp
On Tuesday, the San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors voted to reduce operating hours at San Joaquin General Hospital's cancer clinic and lower the income threshold for those who qualify forÂ no-cost medical care at the facility, the Stockton Record reports.
The moves are part of an effort to address the hospital's annual deficit.
Officials delayed a decision on whether to lay off hospital security staff. They also postponed a planned action to remove the hospital's designation as a receiving facility for patients with certain head injuries (Johnson, Stockton Record, 4/13).
Scripps Memorial Hospital Encinitas
Officials recently kicked off a $200 million expansion project at Scripps Memorial Hospital Encinitas, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.
The hospital has obtained permits to build a 60,000-square-foot critical care facility that will include an emergency department twice as large as its current one.
The hospital plans to build a 900-space parking structure as the first phase of its expansion project (Mannes, San Diego Union-Tribune, 4/9).
St. Jude Medical Center, Fullerton
Officials at St. Jude Medical Center are preparing to open a new suite of seven operating rooms, the Orange County Register reports. The opening of the new rooms marks the completion of a $118 million, 89,000-square-foot expansion of the hospital.
Kevin Manemann, vice president of operations at the hospital, said the new operating rooms will increase the facility's capacity by 15% to 30%. He said the rooms eventually could support 500 to 600 procedures per month (Townsend, Orange County Register, 4/12).
Stanford Hospital & Clinics and Lucile Packard Children's Hospital
Union nurses at Stanford Hospital & Clinics and Lucile Packard Children's Hospital recently voted to reject a contract that hospital officials called a "last, best and final offer," the AP/San Francisco Chronicle reports.
The offer included a 4% raise in the contract's first year, increased benefits and a $3,000 bonus for each nurse if the hospitals do not receive a strike notice (AP/San Francisco Chronicle, 4/8).
Attorneys for the union said they will wait to see if Stanford returns with another offer before holding a vote on a strike (Samuels, San Jose Mercury News, 4/8).
Last week, Sutter Health released a new financial report showing that the health system's income increased to $697 million in 2009, up from $187 million in 2008, the Sacramento Bee reports.
The report also notes that day-to-day operating income dropped from $461 million in 2008 to $453 million in 2009 (Caina Calvan, Sacramento Bee, 4/9).
Meanwhile, Sutter Health also canceled a long time contract with Radiological Associates of Sacramento Medical Group, despite opposition from physicians at Sutter Roseville Medical Center, the Sacramento Business Journal reports.
Sutter instead has started to hire radiologists to work under its own medical foundation (Robertson, Sacramento Business Journal, 4/9).
Valley Health System, Riverside County
Valley Health System's board of directors is expected to meet this week with officials from Physicians for Healthy Hospitals to finalize a timeline to complete the sale of Valley Health's two hospitals to the physician group, the Riverside Press-Enterprise reports.
Last week, U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Peter Carroll dismissed challenges filed by Prime Healthcare Services to try to stop the sale of the hospital district's assets to Physicians for Healthy Hospitals.
The decision allows Valley Health to move forward on its plan to reorganize its debt (Hines, Riverside Press-Enterprise, 4/9).
Ventura County Medical Center
The Ventura County Medical Center has signed a $473,529 contract with the Ventura Police Department to have a uniformed police officer stationed each night in the emergency department, the Ventura County Star reports.
The Ventura City Council unanimously approved the contract, which runs from May 1, 2010, to June 30, 2011 (Clerici, Ventura County Star, 4/14).
Washington Hospital, Fremont
Officials at Washington Hospital recently announced that construction on its new surgery center and power plant should be completed on time and within budget in early 2012, the Oakland Tribune reports.
After the two projects are complete, the hospital aims to begin building a new emergency department and critical care unit (Artz, Oakland Tribune, 4/8).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.