California Hospital News Roundup for the Week of August 17, 2012
Arrowhead Regional Medical Center, Colton
At a meeting of the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, nurses at Arrowhead Regional Medical Center said that patient care will decline if the county reduces its contributions to their pensions and increases its use of registry nurses, the San Bernardino County Sun reports.
Several nurses told the board they were unhappy with the direction of negotiations between the county and the California Nurses Association.
Rhonda Watts -- a nurse who works in the hospital's intensive care unit -- said many nurses are considering quitting because they believe the county will force them to pay the 7% contribution to their pensions that the county currently provides.
David Wert -- a county spokesperson -- said, "The county's proposed benefit reduction is minimal, and even if it is enacted, the county will still be considered one of the best places a nurse can work."
Also on Tuesday, the board voted to approve an agreement to increase the county's 31 contracts for nurse registry services by $3 million through the end of the year. Hospital officials say that registry nurses help maintain sufficient staffing levels, but nurses argue that the county should focus more on recruiting and retaining experienced nurses (Nelson, San Bernardino County Sun, 8/12).
El Camino Hospital, Mountain View
Earlier this month, Santa Clara County's Local Agency Formation Commission voted to approve a set of recommendations to help El Camino Hospital's taxpayer district clarify its finances, the San Jose Business Journal reports.
LAFCO recently audited El Camino Hospital District, a public hospital district that receives a portion of property taxes from residents. The district provides the hospital with about $15 million annually. A LAFCO consultant suggested that the district could be dissolved if it does not improve transparency about its finances.
However, the LAFCO vote did not include a move to dissolve the district.
Wes Alles, a director for El Camino and its district boards, said that the district seeks to collaborate with LAFCO. He said, "[W]e've indicated we're going to take steps toward transparency," adding, "Let's be on the same page on this, and we'll resolve it" (Samuels, San Jose Business Journal, 8/10).
Children's Hospital & Research Center Oakland
Children's Hospital & Research Center Oakland is moving forward with a $450 million plan to expand and seismically upgrade its campus by 2020, according to officials, the San Francisco Business Times reports.
The project is expected to start in mid-2014 with a $150 million retrofit and upgrade.
Richard DeCarlo -- executive vice president and chief of hospital operations -- said the facility primarilyÂ is seeking philanthropic funding to complete the project (Rauber, San Francisco Business Times, 8/10).
Dignity Health, Elk Grove
Dignity Health plans to open a $35 million medical plaza in Elk Grove in September, the Sacramento Business Journal reports.
The plaza is the first phaseÂ in theÂ building ofÂ a 28-acre medical campus that also will include a four-story surgery and maternity hospital.
Depending on the demand for services, Dignity could add more than 520,000 square feet of medical space and 330 hospital beds to the site in four or more phases over 20 years (Robertson, Sacramento Business Journal, 8/10).
Napa State Hospital
On Tuesday, Napa State Hospital, a psychiatric facility, implemented a new alarm system designed to protect employees from potentially violent patients, the Los Angeles Times reports.
California lawmakers and the state Division of Occupational Safety and Health have pushed for wireless alert systems to boost safety at state mental health hospitals.
The system at Napa involves staffers wearing alarms on lanyards around their necks, which transmit constant signals on their locations and receive data on the locations of other employees.
Some workers are worried about the potential for violent patients to use the lanyards to strangle staffers. Hospital officials said they are open to alternatives for carrying the alarms.If the program is successful at Napa, it could be used at other facilities, such as Metropolitan State Hospital and Patton State Hospital in San Bernardino (Romney, Los Angeles Times, 8/13). 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.