California Hospital News Roundup for the Week of August 21, 2009
Alameda County Medical Center
On August 19, Alameda County Medical Center said that it has agreed to a new lease deal to keep San Leandro Hospital open, but that the primary acute care facility "most likely" would lose its emergency department and convert into a rehabilitation and urgent care facility, the San Francisco Business Times reports.
According to the deal, emergency services for the area will be offered five miles away at Eden Medical Center in Castro Valley, while Highland Hospital in Oakland and St. Rose Hospital in Hayward will also accept certain patients (San Francisco Business Times, 8/19).
El Camino Hospital District, Mountain View
On Monday, the El Camino Hospital District's board of directors announced $4.9 million in grants that will be funded from the district's tax receipts, as well as a contingency fund of about $200,000 for additional projects and sponsorships, the Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal reports.
In addition, the board approved another $265,000 in community benefit grants and sponsorships from non-hospital district funds, which will be distributed in the area served by the newly acquired El Camino Hospital Los Gatos.
The community benefit grants include a $1.2 million investment -- the largest grant for 2010 -- with Santa Clara Valley Medical Center to support new services at its Sunnyvale Clinic, including dental, adult primary care, pharmacy, lab and radiology services (Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal, 8/17).
El Camino Hospital, Mountain View
As student athletes enter a new school year, physician Bing Liem is leading an effort at El Camino Hospital to offer no-cost cardiac screenings to high school students, the San Jose Mercury News reports.
Liem said he will manage the program because student athletes are among those most at risk for heart problems because they exercise at high levels (Samuels, San Jose Mercury News, 8/19).
Enloe Medical Center, Chico
Enloe Medical Center is considering plans to form a "clinic foundation" that would employ a large number of physicians as part of an effort to ensure that the hospital's service area has an adequate supply of doctors, the Chico Enterprise-Record reports.
The move comes as hospital leaders evaluate its long-term prospects (Mitchell, Chico Enterprise-Record, 8/16).
Kern Medical Center, Bakersfield
On Tuesday, the Kern County Board of Supervisors voted to approve a new compensation plan for physicians working at Kern Medical Center, the Bakersfield Californian reports.
Under the plan, the county hospital will pay doctors for teaching classes to medical residents and "professional fees" for services provided to patients. The facility will bill patients for the services, and physicians will be paid regardless of whether the patient pays (Burger, Bakersfield Californian, 8/18).
In other news, hospital President and CEO Paul Hensler last month reported a $10.16 million profit for the facility for 2009, the first time it has reported a profit in 10 years, the Californian reports.
County Supervisor Ray Watson said changes in staffing, purchasing and other areas reduced costs for KMC.
Hensler said there is a good chance the hospital will continue to prosper (Cox, Bakersfield Californian, 8/18).
Methodist Hospital, Arcadia
On July 30, Methodist Hospital in Arcadia filed two lawsuits -- one in Superior Court and one in federal court -- against Anthem Blue Cross of California, claiming the insurer underpays for ED visits by Anthem Blue Cross members, the Pasadena Star-News reports.
The hospital is seeking restitution and unspecified damages, arguing it lost tens of millions of dollars in unpaid claims.
Blue Cross alleges that many hospitals overcharge insurance companies, especially companies that do not have a contract with the hospital.
Methodist terminated a contract with Blue Cross in January 2008 over billing disputes.
HospitalÂ officials say the insurer still is required to pay hospitals for ED visits by health plan members (Baumfeld, Pasadena Star-News, 8/17).Â
St. Bernardine Medical Center, San Bernardino
On Monday, St. Bernardine Medical Center opened a $1.5 million Wound Healing Center that will serve the area's patients with diabetes and cardiac and arterial disease, two groups that are prone to chronic non-healing wounds, the San Bernardino County Sun reports.
The center houses two 1,900-pound hyperbaric oxygen chambers that will be used to treat some patients. Patients with soft tissue radiation injury, compromised skin grafts, bone infections, gas gangrene and other conditions will be treated at the center (Steinberg, San Bernardino County Sun, 8/17).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.