California Hospital News Roundup for the Week of January 8, 2016
Dignity Health Sequoia Hospital
Dignity Health Sequoia Hospital has started offering 3-D mammography services, the San Mateo County Times reports.
3-D mammography, or tomosynthesis, offers more precise cancer detection than traditional mammography. Avani Gupta, Sequoia Hospital Breast and Diagnostic Center medical director, said, "The high resolution 3-D scans delivered through the tomosynthesis technology allow us to see tumors with far greater clarity, resulting in a 25% improvement in breast cancer detection rates" (Livengood, San Mateo County Times, 1/4).
Glendora Community Hospital
The donation switches the hospital from a for-profit organization to a not-for-profit one (Castellucci, Modern Healthcare, 1/5).
Mercy Medical Center, Merced
A San Francisco Superior Court judge has rejected the American Civil Liberties Union's request for an emergency order to permit two women's requests for tubal ligation to proceed at Mercy Medical Center, the Sacramento Bee reports (Buck, Sacramento Bee, 1/6).
ACLU filed the lawsuit against Dignity Health -- the owner of Mercy Medical Center -- for denying two women's requests for tubal ligation (AP/Sacramento Bee, 12/30/15).
In December 2015, attorneys for ACLU and Physicians for Reproductive Health in a letter to Mercy Medical Center and Dignity Health said state law "does not permit hospitals open to the general public and supported by public funds to deny patients medically indicated pregnancy-related care" (California Healthline, 12/11/15). A Dignity Health spokesperson said it is the organization's policy not to provide sterilization services because of religious directives (Aliferis, "State of Health," KQED, 12/29/15).
ACLU said it plans to file a request for a preliminary injunction, with the hope that the court will hold another hearing before the end of the month (Sacramento Bee, 1/6).
Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital
Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital is the first facility in the county to use a new MRI-safe, implantable cardioverter defibrillator, the Long Beach Press Democrat reports.
The device uses electrical pulses to control arrhythmia and does not heat up in magnetic fields, such as those produced during MRI scans (Espinoza, Long Beach Press Democrat, 12/30/15).
St. Joseph Health
St. Joseph Health has acquired a local health club as part of an initiative to offer more fitness and wellness services, the Press Democrat reports.
St. Joseph Health officials said the deal with Active Sports Clubs Petaluma could help residents lead healthier lives. The health system already owns a fitness center in Napa and plans to open a third in Newport Beach (Digitale, Long Beach Press Democrat, 1/6).
Sutter Health has announced plans to issue $500 million in bonds to finance three replacement hospitals, Modern Healthcare reports.
Two of the hospitals, expected to be completed in 2019, will be located in San Francisco. The third, Sutter Santa Rosa Regional Hospital, opened in 2014 (Kutscher, Modern Healthcare, 1/6).
UC-Davis Medical Center
On Tuesday night, UC-Davis Medical Center's emergency department was temporarily closed to new, non-critical patients, the Sacramento Bee reports.
As a result of high patient volumes at UC-Davis' ED, Sacramento County Emergency Medical Services Agency enacted its Level Two Expanded Emergency protocol. Under the level-two process -- used because of high patient volumes at UC-Davis and nearby EDs -- SCEMSA put the hospital on diversion and ordered ambulances to distribute non-critical patients evenly through EDs in the county.
The UC-Davis ED reopened after about four hours (Caiola, Sacramento Bee, 1/6).
UC-San Francisco Benioff Children's Hospital Oakland
The mother of a girl who in 2013 was declared brain dead at UC-San Francisco's Benioff Children's Hospital has filed a federal lawsuit requesting that the patient be declared alive, KQED's "State of Health" reports (Elias, "State of Health," KQED, 12/24/15).
In December 2013, Jahi McMath had tonsil surgery to help her with sleep apnea. The patient went into cardiac arrest after the surgery and was declared brain dead three days later. However, her mother maintains that she is alive (California Healthline, 12/18/15). McMath now receives around-the-clock medical care in New Jersey, where insurers are required to cover treatment for patients who are declared dead but still show minimal brain function.
McMath's mother filed the lawsuit in federal court in San Francisco after state courts have refused to rescind the death certificate. If the federal court invalidates the certificate, insurers would be required to pay for McMath's treatment, allowing her to be cared for in Oakland ("State of Health," KQED, 12/24/15).
UC-San Francisco Medical Center
UC-San Francisco voluntarily suspended its living kidney donor program after a donor died, AP/U.S. News and World Report reports.
The donor had provided a kidney to a patient in October 2015. Officials said they were still investigating the incident as of late December 2015.
UCSF Medical Center said it would not conduct transplant surgeries on donors. However, it will continue transplants from both living and deceased donors into recipients. In the meantime, California Pacific Medical Center will take over the donor side for several transplant surgeries (AP/U.S. News and World Report, 12/20/15).
Villa Fairmont Mental Health Rehabilitation Center, San Leandro
On Tuesday, a room at the Villa Fairmont Mental Health Rehabilitation Center caught fire, the San Jose Mercury News reports.
The facility remained fully functional and no injuries were reported (Cameron, San Jose Mercury News, 1/5).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.