California Hospital News Roundup for the Week of January 20, 2012
Huntington Hospital, Pasadena
David Hamedany -- former director of construction for Huntington Hospital -- has been sentenced to three years in federal prison and ordered to pay $4.8 million in restitution for running a kickback scheme, the Los Angeles Times reports (Stevens, Los Angeles Times, 1/18).
Federal prosecutors claimed Hamedany convinced the hospital to contract with construction firms that performed little or no work. The scam cost the hospital nearly $5 million, according to the prosecutors (Blesch, Modern Healthcare, 1/17).
As part of the settlement, Hamedany also agreed to transfer ownership of his residence to the hospital (Los Angeles Times, 1/18).
Marin General Hospital, Greenbrae
Sutter Health and Marin Healthcare District have started an arbitration process to determine whether Sutter will need to return any of the $180 million it transferred from Marin General Hospital when it leased the facility between 1995 and 2010, the Marin Independent Journal reports.
Sutter has claimed that most of the funds taken from Marin General were "excess working capital," which it pooled with funds from other facilities to improve its entire network of hospitals. However, hospital officials say that Sutter transferred nearly half of the funds -- about $88 million -- between 2006 and 2010, after the date had been set for shifting control of the hospital back to Marin Healthcare District.
Jon Friedenberg -- Marin Healthcare District's chief fund and business development officer -- said the arbitration is scheduled to last through Feb. 7 (Halstead, Marin Independent Journal, 1/17).
Prime Healthcare Services
The recognition comes despite recent media reports and federal investigations into Prime's billing practices.
To create its list, Thomson Reuters used data from the 2010 Medicare Provider Analysis and Review and CMS' Hospital Compare website. Prem Reddy -- chair and founder of Prime Healthcare Services -- said in a statement that the recognition "speaks volumes of Prime Healthcare's commitment to its core values of quality and cost-effectiveness" (Cheung, FierceHealthcare, 1/18).
St. Joseph's Medical Center, Stockton
St. Joseph's Medical Center in Stockton has installed a $250,000 clinical communication and data delivery system, the Stockton Record reports.
Susan McDonald -- the hospital's vice president of medical affairs -- said the old communication system relied on manual processes such as paging doctors over a loudspeaker. The new system -- called PerfectServe -- allows physicians to choose whether pages will be routed to them via cell phone, text message, email, home phone or other means at various times of day (Goldeen, Stockton Record, 1/17).
Torrance Memorial Medical Center
The American Nurses Credentialing Center has recognized Torrance Memorial Medical Center for providing nursing excellence, the Torrance Daily Breeze reports.
Six percent of hospitals in the U.S. have received the designation from ANCC's Magnet Recognition Program. Â According to hospital officials, institutions with ANCC's nursing excellence designation have lower mortality rates, fewer medication errors and higher patient satisfaction scores than other hospitals (Green, Torrance Daily Breeze, 1/11).
UC-San Diego Medical Center
UC-San Diego Medical Center has renovated its fifth floor to create a new, 24-bed continuous care trauma unit, U-T San Diego reports.
Previously, the hospital stabilized trauma patients in the intensive care unit before sending them to other rooms around the hospital. Now, trauma patients who have been stabilized will continue to receive care in the new fifth floor trauma unit for the remainder of their stay. The new unit is staffed by 30 nurses with intensive trauma care training (Lavelle, U-T San Diego, 1/18).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.