California Hospital News Roundup for the Week of April 25, 2014
Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles
On Monday, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center announced that it would start screening all hospital patients for clinical depression, KPCC's "KPCC News" reports.
Nurses at the center will now ask newly admitted patients two questions about their mood and energy level within 24 hours of admission. Patients who show signs of depression will be subject to a more detailed screening (O'Neill, "KPCC News," KPCC, 4/21).
Meanwhile, NIH's National Institute of Neurological Disorders awarded an $8 million grant to Cedars-Sinai to fund multicenter Phase II clinical trials for an experimental stroke drug, called 3K3A-APC, according to a Cedars-Sinai press release (Cedars-Sinai press release, 4/22).
Daughters of Charity Health System
Standard & Poor's has lowered the credit rating for Daughters of Charity Heath System by six grades, from BBB- to B-, with indications that the health care system's negative financial outlook could result in further rating declines in the future, Modern Healthcare reports.
According to S&P, the hospital system's credit score was downgraded because of accelerating operating costs coupled with the system's uncertain schedule for finding a new buyer. In its review, S&P found that the system's patient volume and revenue have been in decline since 2009 (Evans, Modern Healthcare, 4/18).
Long Beach Trauma Recovery Center
Last week, the Long Beach Trauma Recovery Center officially opened, making it the only place in Southern California where victims of violent crimes can receive mental health care at no cost, the Long Beach Press Telegram reports.
The center allows victims of violent crimes to receive immediate care rather than having to wait for money to pay for mental health treatment via the California Victim Compensation Fund. The center is funded through CVCF and Dignity Health St. Mary Medical Center (Valenzuela, Long Beach Press Telegram, 4/20).
On Tuesday, UCLA agreed to pay $10 million to settle allegations that the university knowingly permitted physicians to accept industry payments that could have harmed patient care, the Los Angeles Times reports. The settlement was paid to Robert Pedowitz, the former chair of the university's orthopedic surgery department.
UCLA hired Pedowitz to run the orthopedic surgery department in 2009. In 2012, Pedowitz sued UCLA, the University of California Board of Regents, fellow physicians and senior officials at the university for failing to act on his complaints and their subsequent retaliation against him. Specifically, Pedowitz said that some of his colleagues' ties to the medical device industry or other health care companies compromised their medical research and patient care. He also said that UCLA ignored the conflicts of interest.
UCLA said that numerous investigations had not found any inappropriate conduct at the medical school and that it issued the settlement to avoid the "substantial expense and inconvenience" of continuing litigation (Terhune, Los Angeles Times, 4/22).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.