California Hospital News Roundup for the Week of February 22, 2008
Loma Linda University Medical Center last week opened part of an expanded cancer center that will consolidate cancer treatment into one location on the hospital's campus and provide more comprehensive care, the Riverside Press-Enterprise reports.
The 11,000-square-foot center is the first of four planned phases in a new 75,000-square-foot cancer center. The next phase of the plan, which is expected to be completed this summer, will add a biospecimen tissue lab for research (Ghori, Riverside Press-Enterprise, 2/16).
Jim Sherman, CEO and president of Los Robles Hospital & Medical Center, sent an e-mail to his employees and medical staff asking them to vote against a June ballot initiative that could affect the medical center's plan to build a replacement facility, the Ventura County Star reports.
If approved, the initiative would require a public vote on large developments that would add to traffic congestion. Sherman wrote in the e-mail, "If this initiative was law, it would prevent our newly proposed building from being built, and the full-service health care we now provide to the community would cease."
He added that the hospital would have to close its maternity department, neonatal intensive care unit, pediatrics department, and oncology, surgery and other units without the new building (Rochester, Ventura County Star, 2/15).
It is unlikely that Methodist Hospital and Blue Cross of California will agree to a new contract in the near future, according to Will Garand, director of managed care at Methodist, the San Gabriel Valley Tribune reports. The hospital ended its contract with Blue Cross of California on Jan. 1 over payment and pricing issues.
Under exceptions developed by the Department of Managed Health Care, Blue Cross patients who are currently undergoing treatment at Methodist, are pregnant, receive emergency treatment or have a doctor who works exclusively at Methodist are supposed to remain covered. However, some patients who meet the guidelines are worried that Blue Cross will deny payment, Garand said.
DMHC has received 67 calls about Methodist from Blue Cross patients, none of which has progressed into a formal complaint, DMHC spokesperson Lynne Randolph said (Baumfeld, San Gabriel Valley Tribune, 2/18).
In about 60 days, Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital will close its inpatient psychiatric unit and lay off 212 employees as part of efforts to cut the hospital's budget deficit, the Santa Rosa Press Democrat reports.
The hospital also plans to close its skilled nursing and acute rehabilitation units. The employees facing layoffs include nurses, technicians, clerks and food service personnel, according to Debra Miller, vice president of human resources.
George Perez, the hospital's president and CEO, said the closures and layoffs will save an estimated $7.7 million and help the hospital avoid a deficit (Norberg, Santa Rosa Press Democrat, 2/14).
The UC Board of Regents has approved a $242 million expansion proposal at UC-Irvine Medical Center in Orange, which is slated to open next year, the Los Angeles Times reports.
The expansion is expected to be completed in 2011. The additions will include:
- Operating rooms and patient beds;
- A cancer unit;
- A radiology suite; and
- A four-story clinical laboratory building (Haldane, Los Angeles Times, 2/15).
Valley Health System on Feb. 1 approved the sale of its 101-bed Moreno Valley Community Hospital to Kaiser Foundation Hospitals in Oakland for more than $47 million, the Business Press reports.
Valley Health filed for Chapter 9 bankruptcy in December 2007, and the sale will require approval from the bankruptcy court. The sale is expected to close in March.
Fred Harder, Valley Health CEO, said the hospital was losing money. The sale had been in negotiations since August 2007, he said. The hospital district also owns hospitals and a skilled nursing facility in Hemet and Sun City (Park, Business Press, 2/18).