California Hospital News Roundup for the Week of January 3, 2014
Children's Hospital Oakland
On Thursday, a federal judge ordered settlement discussions between lawyers for Children's Hospital Oakland and attorneys for a pediatric patient who has been declared brain dead, AP/U-T San Diego reports (AP/U-T San Diego, 1/2).
Jahi McMath had tonsil surgery at the hospital on Dec. 9 to help her with sleep apnea, but she suffered bleeding and cardiac arrest later that night. On Dec. 12, physicians declared her brain dead. McMath remains on life support (Bender, Oakland Tribune/Contra Costa Times, 12/19/13).
In December 2013, Children's Hospital Oakland officials said surgeons would not perform a tracheotomy for breathing and insert a gastric tube for feeding on McMath. The surgeries are required before McMath's family can move her to a long-term care facility. The hospital is refusing to perform the surgeries because it does not offer treatment to people who have been declared brain dead (Gafni/Neysa Alund, Contra Costa Times, 12/27/13).
On Monday, an Alameda County judge ordered the hospital to maintain life support until Jan. 7 for a pediatric patient who has been declared brain dead, the Contra Costa Times reports (Neysa Alund et al., Contra Costa Times, 12/30/13).
Kaiser Foundation Hospital Orange County-Anaheim Medical Center
A class action lawsuit has been filed against Kaiser Foundation Hospital Orange County-Anaheim Medical Center over a data breach that affected nearly 49,000 patients, Health IT Security reports.
The breach occurred in September 2013 when a flash drive went missing. Personal health information on the drive included patients' names, medical record numbers and dates of birth.
The suit was filed under California’s Confidentiality of Medical Information Act (Ouellette, HealthIT Security, 1/2).
Lucile Packard Children's Hospital, Capitola
Lucile Packard Children's Hospital soon will open a newly remodeled children's health clinic at Stanford Children's Health Specialty Services in Capitola, the Santa Cruz Sentinel reports.
The $250,000 remodel includes six exam rooms, cardiac imaging, a treadmill room and a telemedicine room, as well as office and conference areas. The clinic will offer services in oncology, pulmonology, neurology, cardiology, infectious diseases, developmental pediatrics, high-risk infant follow-up and a foster care health program (Gumz, Santa Cruz Sentinel, 12/15/13).
San Francisco General Hospital
On Dec. 14, 2013, an attorney for a San Francisco General Hospital patient who went missing and was later found dead disputed a coroner's report that found the patient's death was likely due to chronic alcohol misuse, the San Francisco Chronicle reports (Van Derbeken, San Francisco Chronicle, 12/15/13).
The patient -- a 57-year-old woman -- was admitted to the hospital on Sept. 19 with an infection and was found to be missing from her hospital room on Sept. 21. On Oct. 8, a member of the hospital's engineering staff found the woman's body in a hospital stairwell used as a fire escape (California Healthline, 11/14/13).
On Dec. 13, a coroner's report ruled that the woman's death was an accident caused by "probable electrolyte imbalance with delirium" due to "complications of chronic ethanolism" (AP/Redwood Times, 12/14/13).
On Saturday, attorney Haig Harris said that his client likely died of starvation or dehydration and that suggesting "alcoholism was involved is an outrageous, gratuitous comment" (San Francisco Chronicle, 12/15/13).
St. Joseph Hospital, Orange County
In December 2013, St. Joseph Hospital in Orange County announced that it would curb spending by about $30 million and lay off an unspecified number of employees, the Orange County Register reports.
St. Joseph Hospital CEO Steven Moreau in an email said the hospital is imposing the cuts to curb losses from lower reimbursement rates, a change in the mix of payers and a declining demand for hospital services (Perkes, Orange County Register, 12/18/13).
On Dec. 16, 2013, Sutter Health said it had reached an agreement with Anthem Blue Cross that will allow the health care system to remain in Anthem's network for the next few years, the Sacramento Bee reports.
Officials also said that some Anthem policyholders who received notice that they can no longer receive care at Sutter now can keep their Sutter Health physicians, or re-enroll if they have already selected a new provider (Glover, Sacramento Bee, 12/16/13).
University of California
On Dec. 13, 2013, the University of California reached a tentative labor agreement with the University Professional and Technical Employees union, ending more than two years of negotiations over pension and wage issues, Reuters reports.
Under the agreement, the University of California will increase union members' wages by 13% over four years. Meanwhile, workers will increase their annual employee pension contributions to 9% in exchange for keeping the retirement age with maximum benefits at 60 (Kearney, Reuters, 12/16/13).
Washington Hospital, Fremont
Washington Hospital CEO Nancy Farber has been reimbursed more than $20,000 over the past three years by the hospital, on top of her $1 million annual salary, the Fremont Argus/San Jose Mercury News reports. The reimbursements were for donations that Farber made to service clubs, college funds and the hospital's own health care foundation.
Farber now says she plans to repay the hospital for some of the reimbursements (McGlone, Fremont Argus/San Jose Mercury News, 12/26/13).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.