California Hospital News Roundup for the Week of December 18, 2009
Kern Health Systems, Bakersfield
On Dec. 11, a subcommittee of Kern Health Systems voted unanimously to recommend canceling more than $600,000 in annual incentives because of current economic and political conditions, the Bakersfield Californian reports (Barrientos, Bakersfield Californian, 12/11).
Los Robles Hospital & Medical Center, Thousand Oaks
Los Robles recently began a contract with Consult-A-Nurse, a Florida company with 25 registered nurses who answer phone calls 24 hours a day to field any health-related question, the Ventura County Star reports.
The hospital is now the only one in Ventura County to offer the service (Kisken, Ventura County Star, 12/10).
Mercy San Juan Medical Center, Carmichael
A six-story, $125 million patient tower at Mercy San Juan Medical Center is scheduled to open this month, expanding the facility's capacity to 370 beds and alleviating crowding in the emergency department, the Sacramento Business Journal reports (Robertson, Sacramento Business Journal, 12/11).
Palomar Medical Center, Escondido
On Dec. 8, officials at Palomar Pomerado Health District filed a lawsuit against Rudolph and Sletten Inc., accusing the Redwood City-based contractor of fraudulently overbilling the hospital system $5.1 million for work on Palomar Medical Center in Escondido, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.
The district alleges that Rudolph and Sletten charged improper labor rates for some work, billed for work done by the firm's executives that should have been included in their regular salaries, and exceeded contracted monthly limits on labor charges (DarcÃ©, San Diego Union-Tribune, 12/12).
Scripps Memorial Hospital-Encinitas
On Dec. 10, Scripps Health announced that the Leichtag Family Foundation of Carlsbad has donated $10 million to the Encinitas hospital, the Union-Tribune reports.
The donation will go toward a new critical care building, which is the first phase of a $200 million expansion project.Â Scripps has thus far raised $17.5 million from donors for the project (DarcÃ©, San Diego Union-Tribune, 12/11).
Simi Valley Hospital
On Dec. 15, Simi Valley hospital officials announced plans for a $41 million, five-year expansion that will double the size of the hospital's ED, build a catheterization lab and fund other improvements to the facility, the Ventura County Star reports.
The hospital just completed a $75 million addition that will open Dec. 21 (Kisken, Ventura County Star, 12/15).
Sutter Delta Medical Center, Antioch
After canceling a planned strike for Dec. 16 at Sutter Delta Medical Center, hospital workers represented by the Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West have scheduled a Dec. 17 vote on a tentative agreement for a new contract, the Sacramento Business Journal reports.
The contract agreement includes a 9.27% pay increase and covers 420 workers in several positions, including certified nursing assistant, respiratory therapist and radiology technician. The agreement includes job protections against subcontracting and maintains employer-sponsored health care benefits (Robertson, Sacramento Business Journal, 12/15).
Valley Medical Center, San Jose
Santa Clara County's Valley Medical Center has spent an average of $654,000 each of the past three years for physician travel and training with very few restrictions on how the money can be spent, according to a report commissioned by the county board of supervisors, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
Valley Medical officials told the auditors that the training money is viewed as an employee benefit that helps recruit and retain physicians (Matier/Ross, San Francisco Chronicle, 12/16).
Washington Hospital, Fremont
The National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers awarded Fremont Washington Hospital's Breast Health Program with a three-year certification, making the facility the only certified breast center between Seattle and San Diego, the Contra Costa Times reports (Artz, Contra Costa Times, 12/12).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.