California Hospital News Roundup for the Week of January 14, 2011
Alvarado Hospital, San Diego
On Tuesday, Alvarado Hospital officials notified employees about plans for a "significant staff reduction" and restructuring that stemmed from multimillion-dollar losses in federal and state funding, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports (Lavelle, San Diego Union-Tribune, 1/11).
The hospital sent layoff notices to 249 employees, or about one-quarter of its staff. Ninety-one nurses will be affected. The letters provide a 60-day notice of the employment terminations, which will take effect March 13.
The layoff notices come less than two months after Prime Healthcare Services purchased Alvarado Hospital. While announcing the layoffs, Prime Healthcare also said it plans to invest $25 million in improvements to the hospital, including an expansion of its emergency department (Lavelle, San Diego Union-Tribune, 1/12).
Montclair Hospital Medical Center
Prime Healthcare System has converted its Montclair Hospital Medical Center to a not-for-profit facility under the operation of Prime Healthcare Foundation, Becker's Hospital Review reports.
Conversion of the 102-bed Montclair Hospital took effect on Dec. 31. In addition to Montclair, Prime Healthcare Foundation operates Encino Hospital Medical Center (Gamble, Becker's Hospital Review, 1/10). According to CEO Lex Reddy, Prime Healthcare System aims to transfer one of its hospitals to the Prime Healthcare Foundation every year (Payers & Providers, 1/13).
Placentia-Linda Hospital has launched an online emergency department reservation tool to help patients better plan an ED visit, the Orange County Register reports.
Patients can access the InQuickER application from the hospital's homepage, fill out basic information and select an appointment time. The service is geared toward nonemergency visits and costs $14.99. Patients will receive a refund if they are not seen within 15 minutes of their appointment time (Nixon, Orange County Register, 1/7).
Ruben Castro Human Services Center, Moorpark
On Tuesday, the Ventura County Board of Supervisors approved a deal with the city of Moorpark to purchase a building for the planned Ruben Castro Human Services Center, the Ventura County Star reports.
The $14.6 million center will house a health clinic and multiple social service agencies targeting low- and middle-income residents. Under the new agreement, the county will pay up to $5.6 million to Moorpark for the purchase of a 10,000 square-foot medical clinic. Moorpark will own the second building at the center and lease the space to the county, which will provide social services through its Human Services Agency (Ventura County Star, 1/11).
Santa Clara Medical Center, San Jose
Kaiser Permanente has installed the first of its 15 planned solar projects at Santa Clara Medical Center, the San Francisco Business Times reports.
In early 2010, Kaiser announced it would install 15 megawatts of solar power systems at 15 medical facilities by the end of 2011. San Francisco-based Recurrent Energy is financing and developing the solar projects for Kaiser. The company will own the solar systems and sell the power back to Kaiser at predetermined rates (Riddell, San Francisco Business Times, 1/7).
Shasta Regional Medical Center, Redding
Karen Hoyt, spokesperson for Shasta Regional Medical Center, recently clarified a previous announcement to indicate that many hospital workers represented by Service Employees International Union had signed a petition to decertify the union, the Redding Record Searchlight reports.
Hoyt previously stated that 171 workers had voted to end their affiliation with SEIU. The union disputed the statement and filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board. In her clarification, Hoyt said a formal vote had not taken place but added that the petition nullified the SEIU's presence at Shasta Regional. Lisa Hubbard, deputy director of communications with SEIU, noted that the labor board had yet to rule on the issue (Sabalow, Redding Record Searchlight, 1/6).
Sutter Solano Medical Center, Vallejo
More than 200 health workers at Sutter Solano Medical Center in Vallejo will be staying with Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West, after a breakaway union withdrew its petition to represent the workers, the Vallejo Times Herald reports.
The newer union -- the National Union of Healthcare Workers -- said it withdrew its petition after the National Labor Relations Board delayed a union election at the hospital for two years because of prompting from SEIU-UHW.
An SEIU-UHW spokesperson said NUHW's withdrawal from the election at Sutter Solano Medical Center adds to other SEIU-UHW victories at California hospitals (Raskin-Zrihen, Vallejo Times Herald, 1/9).
Washington Hospital, Fremont
Washington Hospital has reached an agreement with Anthem Blue Cross that will allow Anthem enrollees to use the 359-bed facility as an in-network hospital, the San Francisco Business Times reports.
Clayton Warren, Washington Hospital spokesperson, said the hospital had been in negotiations with Anthem for about three months. The insurer previously threatened to end its agreement with the hospital on Jan. 7 if new terms were not reached. Neither Washington Hospital nor Anthem has disclosed details of the new agreement (Rauber, San Francisco Business Times, 1/7).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.