California Hospital News Roundup for the Week of December 17, 2010
Alvarado Hospital, San Diego
Mark Horton, director of the state Department of Public Health, recently said that Prime Healthcare does not need to obtain a new operating license for Alvarado Hospital, which it recently acquired, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.
Assembly member Marty Block (D-San Diego) and attorneys representing Service Employees International Union previously sent letters calling for DPH to revoke the license for Alvarado Hospital until state authorities complete an investigation related to high rates of septicemia infections at hospitals run by Prime Healthcare. Horton wrote that Prime Healthcare does not need a new license for Alvarado Hospital because the legal entity with responsibility for the hospital remained the same after the acquisition (Lavelle, San Diego Union-Tribune, 12/13).
Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian, Newport Beach
On Wednesday, officials at Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian announced that the hospital has connected 250 health care providers to its health information exchange five months after launching the network, Healthcare IT News reports.
Health care providers can use the data exchange to transmit laboratory, radiology and pathology information, as well as transcribed reports and fact sheets. The hospital already has integrated the data exchange with some electronic health records and plans to continue integrating the network with other EHR systems in the future (Manos, Healthcare IT News, 12/16).
Los Robles Hospital & Medical Center
Nurses at Los Robles Hospital & Medical Center have said they might hold a strike from Dec. 23 through Dec. 28 if hospital officials fail to reach an agreement with their union, the Ventura County Star reports.
In addition to the Los Robles facility, Riverside Community Hospital and West Hills Hospital and Medical Center also received strike notices this week. All three hospitals are owned by Hospital Corporation of America. Service Employees International Union -- which represents 1,829 nurses at the three hospitals -- said the strike notices stem from concerns about staffing levels and wages (Gregory, Ventura County Star, 12/14).
Ontario Vineyard Medical Center
Theresa Ashby, transition director at Kaiser Permanente, recently announced that the health system's new Ontario Vineyard Medical Center is 99% complete, the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin reports.
Ashby said the next phase of construction will involve moving 12,000 pieces of equipment and preparing staff members. Kaiser Permanente officials aim to open the $550 million, 224-bed hospital by September 2011. When it opens, the 386,000 square-foot medical center will be the first full-service hospital in Ontario (MÃ¡rquez, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, 12/16).
Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital
On Thursday, Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital employees represented by the National Union of Healthcare Workers held a candlelight vigil to protest the hospital's proposed job cuts, the Monterey County Herald reports (Johnson, Monterey County Herald, 12/16). Last week, the hospital said it would lay off between 100 and 120 employees within the next few weeks to reduce operating costs.
Workers slated to receive layoff notices include employees represented by NUHW and the California Nurses Association. According to the hospital, the layoffs are part of an effort to respond to an increase in uninsured patients, changes related to the federal health reform law and lower reimbursements for Medicare and Medi-Cal, California's Medicaid program (Parsons, Monterey County Herald, 12/11). Unions officials said they will work to prevent or minimize the cuts (Solana, Salinas Californian, 12/11).
Sutter Medical Center Sacramento
In early January, Sutter Medical Center Sacramento plans to eliminate 68 positions and reduce 15 employees' hours, the Sacramento Business Journal reports.
The staffing reductions will affect workers at the medical center's two flagship hospitals, Sutter General Hospital and Sutter Memorial Hospital. The facilities have faced declining patient volume and lower net revenue over the past several months. For the quarter that ended Sept. 30, Sutter Medical Center Sacramento generated $7.8 million in net revenue on operations, down from $22.5 million in net operational revenue for the same quarter in 2009, according to preliminary state data (Robertson, Sacramento Business Journal, 12/10).
Temecula Regional Hospital
On Wednesday, the Temecula Planning Commission voted to recommend that the City Council approve Universal Health Services' request to modify its construction plans for the proposed Temecula Regional Hospital, the Riverside Press-Enterprise reports.
UHS' proposed changes call for the first phase of construction to include 140 beds instead of 170 beds. When complete, the medical center is expected to have 320 beds, medical offices, a cancer center and a fitness center.
During the Planning Commission meeting, Steve Wilson of HMC Architects -- the developer for the hospital project -- said the firm is looking to break ground next year. Officials expect the hospital to be complete by 2026 (Horseman, Riverside Press-Enterprise, 12/16).
UC-Davis Health System, Sacramento
On Jan. 3, UC-Davis Health System plans to open a primary care clinic in Natomas to fill a gap in its network of 18 clinics across the Sacramento region, the Sacramento Business Journal reports.For the clinic, the health system is leasing 2,240 square feet in an office building and plans to spend $300,000 on improvements to the site. The clinic initially will be staffed by two physicians and four staff members, but could expand as demand grows (Robertson, Sacramento Business Journal, 12/10). 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.