California Hospital News Roundup for the Week of April 4, 2014
La Palma Intercommunity Hospital
On March 21, La Palma Intercommunity Hospital sent a letter to patients notifying them that their medical records and personal information might have been illegally accessed by a former hospital employee, the Orange County Register reports.
In the letter, La Palma CFO Alan Smith said that a former employee in September 2012 accessed without authorization patients' personal information, including Social Security numbers, addresses, dates of birth, driver's license information and limited medical data. According to the letter, the employee violated several hospital policies and eventually was fired.
The hospital is offering affected patients no-cost credit monitoring. Hospital spokesperson Rachel Hogue declined to answer questions regarding why the hospital delayed notifying its patients and whether the police were involved in the investigation (Perkes, Orange County Register, 4/2).
Redwood Regional Medical Group, Santa Rosa
Nineteen physicians from Santa Rosa-based Redwood Regional Medical Group are joining St. Joseph Health system's Annadel Medical Group, while 12 radiology specialists are leaving Redwood to form an independently owned Redwood Radiology Group, the San Francisco Business Times' "Bay Area BizTalk" reports.
Redwood Regional -- which formerly had 31 cancer and radiology physicians -- finalized the deal on March 31, after nine months of negotiation.
The Annadel Medical Group will now have 89 physicians and 17 additional providers (Rauber, "Bay Area BizTalk," San Francisco Business Times, 4/2).
UC-Davis Medical Center, Sacramento
Last week, UC-Davis Medical Center in Sacramento and Dameron Hospital Association announced that after two years of negotiations, they are no longer pursuing a joint venture, the Sacramento Business Journal reports.
The proposed affiliation -- which was approved in 2012 -- would have formed a limited liability company that would have owned and operated Dameron while advancing UC-Davis' presence in the Central Valley. However, the two organizations decided to drop the plans after taking into account changing community needs and differing strategic goals. According to the Business Journal, the two organizations are still open to collaborating in other ways going forward (Robertson, Sacramento Business Journal, 3/28).
UC Medical Center
Last week, the 13,000 patient care workers at UC medical and student health centers who are represented by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees ratified with near-unanimous support a new four-year contract, the Sacramento Business Journal reports.
The contract includes across-the-board wage increases of between 4% and 4.5% per year through 2017, as well as annual 2% step increases. In addition, the contract freezes health benefit rates for low-income workers and revises language related to layoffs and contract work (Robertson, Sacramento Business Journal, 3/31).
UC-San Francisco Medical Center
UC-San Francisco Medical Center will open the San Francisco region's first dedicated women's hospital in 2015, the HealthyCal reports. The campus will be located at Mission Bay and will be integrated with the medical center's new UC-SF Benioff Children's Hospital and Baker Cancer Hospital (Kritz, HealthyCal, 3/28).
White Memorial Medical Center, Los Angeles
On Wednesday, the 2nd District Court of Appeals ruled that a medical malpractice lawsuit that alleges that White Memorial Medical Center in Los Angeles prematurely declared a patient deceased and froze her alive can proceed, the Los Angeles Times reports (Kim, Los Angeles Times, 4/2).
In July 2010, White Memorial declared the patient, Maria de Jesus Arroyo, dead after suffering a heart attack. However, morticians who received Arroyo's body a few days later found that it was placed facedown, with a broken nose and several cuts and bruises to the face.
Arroyo's husband and eight children subsequently filed a lawsuit against White Memorial, alleging that the hospital had mishandled Arroyo's body. However, during the trial, a pathologist who reviewed Arroyo's injuries concluded that they could have only been acquired while Arroyo was still alive, most likely when she was trying to escape the hospital's freezer.
The family then withdrew the mishandling lawsuit. In May 2012, the family filed a second lawsuit alleging that the hospital had erroneously declared Arroyo dead and froze her body while she was still alive. The Los Angeles County Superior Court dismissed the case, ruling that the second suit was filed past the one-year statute of limitations after the patient's injuries were first discovered (Kim, "L.A. Now," Los Angeles Times, 4/2).
However, the appellate court overruled that decision and remanded the case back to the lower court, ruling that the family could not have known that Arroyo was prematurely declared dead until the expert witness testified to that fact during the first trial (Los Angeles Times, 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.