California Hospital News Roundup for the Week of January 13, 2012
Arrowhead Regional Medical Center, Colton
Arrowhead Regional Medical Center has received $100,000 from the Blue Shield of California Foundation for ArrowCare, the medical center's health plan for low-income residents, the Riverside Press-Enterprise reports.
ArrowCare provides medical and mental health services to low-income Riverside County residents who do not qualify for other government-run health plans. ARMC plans to use the funds to purchase software to help improve care coordination in the program (Hines, Riverside Press-Enterprise, 1/5).
California Pacific Medical Center, San Francisco; Lucile Packard Children's Hospital, Palo Alto
California Pacific Medical Center and Lucile Packard Children's Hospital have announced a collaboration that will allow Lucile Packard physicians to treat CPMC patients with special needs, the San Francisco Business Times reports.
The agreement aims to extend specialist care toÂ pediatric patientsÂ at CPMC so that they do not have to be sent 30 miles away to Lucile Packard.
Some Lucile Packard physicians already have started to provide on-call specialty care at CPMC in general surgery, nephrology and urology.
Robert Dicks, a spokesperson for Lucile Packard, said that 22 Lucile Packard specialists have been credentialed at CPMC so far.
The pediatric inpatient units will remain under CPMC's hospital license (Rauber, San Francisco Business Times, 1/12).
El Camino Hospital, Mountain View
El Camino Hospital workers recently voted 599-357 to retain representation by the Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West, the Palo Alto Daily News reports.
On Jan. 5, hospital workers represented by SEIU-UHW held an election on whether to decertify the union, but the ballot tally was delayed until Tuesday because of a rules violation (Green, Palo Alto Daily News, 1/12).
Meanwhile, El Camino Hospital's board of directors has decided to expand from six members to nine members by June.
John Zoglin, chair of the board of directors, said the change will help prepare the hospital for the growing complexities of the health care system. He said, "The hospital and the community stand to gain from the additional expertise placed on our board and committees" (Payers & Providers, 1/12).
Riverside County Regional Medical Center, Moreno Valley
Riverside County supervisors have approved a deal with the Service Employees International Union-Local 721 that would provide pay increases to about 860 nurses at Riverside County Regional Medical Center's Arlington and Moreno Valley campuses, the Riverside Press-Enterprise reports.
The raises, which are expected to cost the hospital about $3.2 million this year, aim to make the nurses' salaries more competitive with private-sector salaries. Tracy Silveria -- an SEIU spokesperson -- said the deal is a positive development for retaining qualified nurses. However, Silveria said the union opposes contract terms that the county imposed on other SEIU-Local 721 workers (Gang, Riverside Press-Enterprise, 1/10).
Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital
Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital recently held an open house for its new 370,000 square-foot facility, which includes a 40-bed intensive care unit, a birthing center, a surgery center and inpatient recovery rooms, the Pacific Coast Business Times reports.
The facility will open to patients on Feb. 12 (Pacific Coast Business Times, 1/6). The new building is part of a $700 million construction project to rebuild the entire hospital. The hospital started the project in 2005 as part of an effort to meet state seismic safety requirements by 2013 (Bemis, Santa Maria Times, 1/7).
Shasta Regional Medical Center, Redding
FBI officials recently interviewed a former patient of Shasta Regional Medical Center who said that she never had kwashiorkor -- a rare form of malnutrition -- even though the hospital billed Medicare for treating her for the condition, California Watch reports.
According to California Watch, Shasta Regional Medical Center -- which is owned by Prime Healthcare Services -- has billed Medicare for more than 1,000 cases of kwashiorkor, a rate 70 times higher than the state average. Julie Schmitz -- daughter of former Shasta patient Darlene Courtois -- said Courtois told FBI agents that she was hospitalized for kidney failure and never received treatment for kwashiorkor.
In an email to California Watch, a hospital spokesperson saidÂ the hospital "believes it has followed all state and federal laws and regulations" (Williams, California Watch, 1/9).
St. Joseph Health System, Orange; Victor Valley Community Hospital, Victorville
The not-for-profit St. Joseph Health System has offered to buy Victor Valley Community Hospital for $35 million, California Watch reports.
In September 2011, the office of state Attorney General Kamala Harris (D) denied the sale of Victor Valley Community Hospital to Prime Healthcare Services because it was not in the public interest. In November 2011, the hospital reached an agreement to let Prime assume daily management of the hospital through a consulting deal.
St. Joseph said it would make $25 million in upgrades to the hospital over five years.
Randy Bevilacqua -- vice president of strategic services at the health system's Apple Valley-based St. Mary Medical Center -- said the acquisition could help relieve crowding conditions at St. Mary and ensure community residents have adequate access to care.
An attorney for the board of Victor Valley Community Hospital said its focus is to have a hospital operator with the financial means to make improvements.
The board is reviewing the offer (Jewett, California Watch, 1/13).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.