California Hospital News Roundup for the Week of January 21, 2011
Alta Bates Summit Medical Center, Oakland and Berkeley
This week, nearly 1,100 workers at Alta Bates Summit Medical Center voted in a union representation election, the Contra Costa Times reports.
The workers participating in the vote included clerical employees, dietary workers, licensed vocational nurses, housekeepers and nursing assistants. Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West currently represents the workers. The election pits SEIU-UHW against a rival breakaway labor group, the National Union of Healthcare Workers (Kleffman, Contra Costa Times, 1/18).
Children's Hospital & Research Center Oakland
Children's Hospital & Research Center Oakland has canceled its extensive rebuilding plans and instead aims to retrofit portions of its hospital to meet state seismic safety requirements for 2013 and 2015, the San Francisco Business Times reports.
The retrofitting effort is expected to cost less than $100 million. Doug Nelson -- the hospital's director of facilities development and construction -- said officials expect to obtain board approval for the retrofit within a few months and secure a state permit for the project by the end of the year (Rauber, San Francisco Business Times, 1/14).
In related news, sources at Children's Hospital & Research Center Oakland and Lucile Packard Children's Hospital in Palo Alto said the two hospitals are in discussions about a possible strategic alliance, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
Erin Goldsmith, spokesperson for the Oakland hospital, said talks about a possible collaboration are "ongoing and exploratory." Robert Dicks, director of communications at LPCH, said discussions are in the "analysis stage" (Ross, San Francisco Chronicle, 1/20). Dicks said the hospitals do not have a timetable for establishing a partnership (Rauber, San Francisco Business Times, 1/19).
Doctors Medical Center, San Pablo
The West Contra Costa Healthcare District Board -- which serves as the board of directors for Doctors Medical Center -- is working on an project to meet the state's seismic safety deadlines, the San Francisco Business Times reports.
Gisela Hernandez, a spokesperson for the hospital, said the hospital has been working on the project since last year. Hospital officials have not released specific information about their plans to comply with the state's seismic safety mandate (Rauber, San Francisco Business Times, 1/14).
Fresno Surgical Hospital
Saint Agnes Medical Center recently announced plans to acquire a majority interest in Fresno Surgical Hospital, a for-profit private hospital founded by Fresno physicians, the Fresno Bee reports.
Under the agreement, Texas-based Cirrus Health would sell its 51% ownership share of Fresno Surgical to Saint Agnes. A group of Fresno physicians would retain the remaining 49% ownership share.
Financial terms of the agreement will not be released until negotiations are complete, according to Saint Agnes officials. Fresno Surgical and Saint Agnes hope to finalize the purchase by March 31, (Rodriguez, Fresno Bee, 1/14).
Palo Alto Medical Foundation
The Palo Alto Medical Foundation recently provided construction firm Skanska USA with a $145 million contract to build a new medical clinic in San Carlos, the San Francisco Business Times reports.
The planned 192,000 square-foot clinic will offer primary and specialty health care services, as well as out outpatient surgery, urgent care and diagnostic services. According to PAMF, construction is expected begin this spring and be completed in 2013 (Rauber, San Francisco Business Times, 1/14).
Ruben Castro Human Services Center, Moorpark
On Wednesday, the Moorpark City Council unanimously approved a sale and lease agreement with Ventura County, paving the way for construction to begin on the Ruben Castro Human Services Center, the Ventura County Star reports.
The center will include a 10,000 square-foot building for nonemergency health services and a 15,000 square-foot building for social services and other uses. The Ventura County Board of Supervisors approved the agreement with Moorpark last week. Under the deal, the county will purchase the medical services building for up to $5.6 million when construction is complete. Ventura County Medical Center will manage the facility and pay rent to the county (Willer-Allred, Ventura County Star, 1/19).
Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla
This year, Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla is launching a 25-year construction project that aims to help the facility meet rising demand and comply with state seismic safety standards, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.
The planned $2 billion construction project will involve replacing the existing hospital and adding 477,680 square feet of new facilities. In addition, the hospital plans to raze its Scripps McDonald Center for substance abuse in 2013. Officials said they are working to find another location for the substance abuse center (Lavelle, San Diego Union-Tribune, 1/19).
Stanford Hospital and Clinics and Lucile Packard Children's Hospital, Palo Alto
On Wednesday, Stanford Hospital and Clinics and Lucile Packard Children's Hospital announced they would be willing to provide $173 million to Palo Alto to help offset the impact that their proposed expansion project could have on the local community, the San Jose Mercury News reports.
That amount is $49 million more than what the hospitals offered in June. The majority of the new offer -- about $126 million -- would go toward efforts to reduce potential traffic congestion. The hospitals' offer also includes:
- $25 million more in Caltrain Go Passes for hospital employees;
- $12 million for city programs that address climate change and sustainability; and
- $10 million more for transportation management projects.
The proposed expansion project would add 1.3 million square feet of space to the hospitals. Palo Alto city council members plan to discuss the offer on Jan. 31, and approval could come as early as April (Dungan, San Jose Mercury News, 1/19).
Watsonville Community Hospital
On Monday, Watsonville Community Hospital officials announced they had reached tentative deals for three-year contracts with technicians and maintenance workers at the hospital, the Santa Cruz Sentinel reports.
The hospital reached the agreements with Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West. The contracts must be ratified by employees in the bargaining group.
Meanwhile, labor negotiations between Watsonville Community Hospital and the California Nurses Association remain unresolved. CNA officials said the union has been negotiating a new contract since February 2010 and has been without a contract since October 2010. Nurses said disputes over staffing levels have hindered negotiations (Jones, Santa Cruz Sentinel, 1/17).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.