California Hospital News Roundup for the Week of August 12, 2011
Arrowhead Regional Medical Center, Colton
A new family clinic is expected to open at Arrowhead Regional Medical Center as thousands of uninsured San Bernardino County residents become eligible for a new county health program, the Riverside Press-Enterprise reports. The new program will provide health coverage to low-income residents who do not qualify for Medi-Cal, California's Medicaid program.
Arrowhead's new clinic is part of a larger $21 million construction project that the hospital completed last year. The clinic is expected to serve about 8,000 new patients in addition to the 70,000 patients who already visit Arrowhead's outpatient clinic for preventive care (Hines, Riverside Press-Enterprise, 8/5).
Doctors Medical Center, San Pablo
The West Contra Costa Healthcare District's board of directors has voted to call a special mail-in ballot election on Nov. 15 so San Pablo voters can decide whether to approve a tax measure that could help Doctors Medical Center stay open, the Contra Costa Times reports.
The tax would require single-family residents to pay $47 annually and it would raise an estimated $5.1 million per year. The funds would go toward running the hospital's emergency department and maintaining services such as intensive care and cancer treatment.
Doctors Medical Center currently faces an $18 million annual deficit. Hospital officials say they are considering other strategies in addition to the tax to bring financial stability to the center (Meron, Contra Costa Times, 8/10).
Fremont-Rideout Cancer Center, Marysville
The Fremont-Rideout Health Group -- part of the UC-Davis Cancer Care Network -- has broken ground on a $19.4 million expansion of its Marysville cancer center, the Sacramento Business Journal reports.
The expansion will add 16,461 square feet to the Fremont-Rideout Cancer Center, providing enough space for 11 more transfusion bays, six more examination rooms, new radiation therapy equipment, and a new reception and waiting area. The project is expected to be finished in a little more than one year (Robertson, Sacramento Business Journal, 8/4).
Mission City Community Network, North Hills
On Tuesday, Mission City Community Network opened a second clinic at its North Hills location in an effort to help the center double its caseload of low-income and uninsured patients, the Los Angeles Daily News reports.
Mission City CEO Nik Gupta said the network received $500,000 in federal grants for the expansion, which it used to secure matching funds from local governments. Kaiser Permanente also donated supplies for the new facility. The $1.6 million clinic expands the number of exam rooms from 12 to 24. Mission City said it expects to see 4,000 to 5,000 more patients during the next two years because of the expansion (Kheel, Los Angeles Daily News, 8/10).
Rady Children's Hospital San Diego
Rady Children's Hospital San Diego is splitting a $20,000 grant with Ronald McDonald House Charities of San Diego to help support families of children being treated at Rady, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.
The grant, which comes from the Ellen Browning Scripps Foundation, will help the not-for-profit groups provide families of patients no-cost meals, taxi vouchers, emergency funds and pharmacy copayments (Ignelzi, San Diego Union-Tribune, 8/5).
San Leandro Hospital
City officials in San Leandro have filed a brief in support of Eden Township Healthcare District's lawsuit against Sutter Health, the Oakland Tribune reports. Eden and Sutter are in a legal dispute over whether Sutter can buy San Leandro Hospital from the district and then sell it to Alameda County Medical Center.
The county medical center would close San Leandro's ED and acute care facility and turn the hospital into a rehabilitation center. The brief filed by city officials claims that an earlier deal to sell the hospital should be invalidated because it involves a conflict of interest (Metinko, Oakland Tribune, 8/11).
Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento
On Tuesday, Sutter Medical Center launched the Sutter Special Start Program to provide no-cost medical, emotional and social support to pregnant women who are expecting special-needs deliveries, the Sacramento Bee reports.
The program will provide resources and medical guidance to women whose fetuses have been diagnosed with conditions such as cystic fibrosis, cleft lip or cleft palate. It also will provide the women with the opportunity to network with other people in similar situations. Sutter said it also aims to reassure pregnant women by providing hospital tours, parent chat lines and postpartum services (La, Sacramento Bee, 8/10).
Tri-City Medical Center, Oceanside
Officials at Tri-City Medical Center have introduced employees and potential donors to a new $2.6 million robotic surgery machine that officials hope will improve the precision of certain procedures and shorten patient recovery time, the North County Times reports.
The hospital plans to pay $1.1 million of the system's cost. The not-for-profit Tri-City Hospital Foundation has pledged to raise the remaining $1.5 million. The machine -- called the da Vinci Surgical System -- functions as an extension of a surgeon's hands and has the ability to make smaller incisions than typically are possible with manual instruments (Brandt, North County Times, 8/5).
UC-San Diego Sulpizio Cardiovascular Center, La Jolla
On Monday, the UC-San Diego Sulpizio Cardiovascular Center opened its doors to the public after the state Department of Public Health certified the center, the Union-Tribune reports. The new facility includes 54 inpatient beds, four cardiovascular operating rooms and four cardiac catheterization labs (Ignelzi, San Diego Union-Tribune, 8/8).
DPH initially delayed the opening of the $227 million facility after discovering deficiencies in the EDs at UCSD Medical Center and UCSD Thornton Hospital. A UCSD spokesperson said the state has accepted a corrective plan from UCSD, allowing all units of the Sulpizio center to open except its ED.
Paul Craig, who oversees regulatory issues at UCSD, said DPH is expected to conduct a final inspection in the next several weeks. The inspection could permit the opening of the heart center's ED, after which UCSD Thornton Hospital's ED will close (San Diego Union-Tribune, 8/7).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.