California Hospital News Roundup for the Week of January 4, 2008
Last week, the Alameda Health Care District and the Department of Veterans Affairs reached a tentative agreement under which Alameda Hospital would treat war veterans beginning Feb. 11, the Contra Costa Times reports. The district's board of directors is expected to authorize the agreement this month.
Under the agreement, the hospital would provide in-patient services for veterans in the East Bay region until the end of 2008, with four separate one-year options.
The hospital is expected to treat 84 veterans annually and earn about $9,000 per patient, for a total of $756,000 (Lopez, Contra Costa Times, 12/28/07).
Coachella officials met earlier this month with Nevada-based Integrated Lifecare Solutions to discuss plans to build the city's first hospital, the Palm Springs Desert Sun reports.
Tim Brown, city manager, said a hospital is needed to address health care for the city's growing population. By 2025, the population of Coachella is expected to rise from 38,486 to 119,383, becoming the most populated city in the valley.
Jeremiah Smith, director of development for Integrated Lifecare Solutions, said his company would establish a not-for-profit entity to run the hospital until it is profitable, after which the company would sell it to the city or to a neighboring facility.
Brown said the hospital would have about 125 beds, making it smaller than other facilities in the region (Peña, Palm Springs Desert Sun, 12/26/07).
On Wednesday, a suspected norovirus outbreak prompted the east campus of the Los Robles Hospital & Medical Center to close to new patients and visitors for 48 hours, the Ventura County Star reports.
Eight patients in the Transitional Care Unit were treated for norovirus-like symptoms on Dec. 27, 2007. By Wednesday, five more patients were showing symptoms. The unit primarily treats senior patients.
Kim Kandarian, communicable disease coordinator for the Ventura County Department of Health, said it takes about four weeks to positively identify the virus (Bakalis, Ventura County Star, 1/3).
On Monday, Tenet Healthcare announced it has signed a multi-year agreement with Coventry Health Care to add the Coventry PPO and First Health network to all Tenet hospitals in California, the Desert Sun reports.
Hospitals in the state that are being added to the provider networks include:
- John F. Kennedy Memorial Hospital, Indio;
- Desert Regional Medical Center, Palm Springs;
- Doctors Medical Center, Modesto;
- USC University Hospital, Los Angeles;
- Los Alamitos Medical Center; and
- Community Hospital, Los Gatos.
Clint Hailey, Tenet's chief managing officer, said the agreement should increase volume at the hospital chain's facilities (Gruszecki, Palm Springs Desert Sun, 1/1).
On Thursday, Tri-City Medical Center unveiled plans to renovate and expand the facility in an effort to meet a state law requiring most hospitals to be able to withstand an earthquake and continue operations, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.
Under the $778 million proposal, the hospital would demolish its central and south towers and replace them with two seven-story patient towers. A maternity center also could be created.
Approval of the plan is required from the hospital's board of directors, which could propose a bond measure to finance the project (Rodriguez, San Diego Union-Tribune, 1/4).
The Veterans Home of California is taking steps to disinfect the facility to eradicate what officials believe to be a norovirus, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.
The infection has sickened at least five staff members and 71 of the approximately 360 residents.
Officials are cleaning the facility's common area with bleach, posting signs about the outbreak and issuing warnings to visitors (Clark, San Diego Union-Tribune, 1/3).