California Hospital News Roundup for the Week of July 17, 2009
Anaheim General Hospital
Last week, CMS informed Anaheim General officials that the facility will lose eligibility to participate in Medicare and Medi-Cal later this month because it failed a series of inspections, the Orange County Register reports.
Medi-Cal is California's Medicaid program.
According to the Register, reimbursements from the two programs account for the "vast majority" of the hospital's nearly $180 million annual gross income.
In a July 10 statement, Anaheim General officials said that they have corrected the problems and will appeal CMS' decision (Perkes, Orange County Register, 7/10).
Clovis Community Medical Center
On July 13, the Clovis City Council granted Clovis Community Medical Center approval for its 10-year plan to nearly triple the size of the facility, the Fresno Bee reports.
Under the 10-year plan, the center intends to build a four-story tower for emergency and surgical services, new offices, and a parking structure. The expansion will increase the number of hospital beds from 109 to 208 and bring the facility's size to more than 739,000 square feet.Â Â
The hospital's 25- to 30-year plan was reviewed by the city council and proposes the construction of an additional four-story tower that would increase the number of beds to 358 and expand the facility to more than 1.1 million square feet (Benjamin, Fresno Bee, 7/13).
Community Hospital of Los Gatos
After three months of being closed, the 143-bed Community Hospital of Los Gatos reopened on July 12 as the second campus of the not-for-profit El Camino Hospital, the San Jose Mercury News reports (Harris, San Jose Mercury News, 7/13).
Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian, Orange County
The National Consortium of Breast Centers has named Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian a Certified Quality Breast Center, the Register's "Healthy Living" reports.Â Â
The hospital is the first in Orange County to receive that recognition and only the sixth in the country, according to Hoag's Senior Vice President Jack Cox.
The certification is based on indicators such as the five-year specific survival and breast conservation surgery rates, as well as patient satisfaction surveys (Perkes, "Healthy Living," Orange County Register, 7/14).
Kaiser Permanente, Fremont
About 125 nurses at Kaiser Permanente Fremont held a rally Tuesday demanding that hospital management drop a proposal to cut evening clinic hours, the Contra Costa Times reports.
According to nurses, the hospital has proposed closing its clinic at 5 p.m. on weeknights -- 2.5 hours earlier than now -- and cutting Sunday operations from eight hours to four hours.
Debra Lambert, Kaiser's director of public affairs for the greater Southern Alameda area, said, "At this point, we will continue to provide (after-hour care) for patients from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. based on patient need" but said that "we need flexibility in shifting schedules" to move more nurses to day shifts, when there are more patients (Tat, Contra Costa Times, 7/14).
St. Joseph Health System, Orange County
St. Joseph Health System is laying off 159 workers in Orange County, hospital spokesperson Kevin Andrus confirmed on Monday, the Register's "Handling Hard Times" reports. The layoffs are a 1.7% reduction in the health system's Orange County 9,000-person work force.Â
Andrus said the layoffs will affect all levels of the company and will affect staff members at:
- St. Jude Medical Center in Fullerton;
- St. Joseph Hospital in Orange;
- Mission Hospital in Mission Viejo; and
- The health system offices in Orange (Milbourn, "Handling Hard Times," Orange County Register, 7/13).
Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, San Jose
The Santa Clara Valley Medical Center has launched the first doctor-attorney collaboration to focus on social and legal issues associated with diabetes, the Mercury News reports.
The Diabetes Law Collaborative is intended to provide diabetics with access to a lawyer to help deal with complicated disability benefit forms, employer discrimination and other social factors that can contribute to the disease simply by adding stress (Dembosky, San Jose Mercury News, 7/14).Â Â
Santa Paula Hospital
Ventura County officials announced that Santa Paula Hospital hit the "break-even point" in the past fiscal year with revenue exceeding spending by $100,000 in an operating budget of $22 million, the Ventura County Star reports.
The county purchased the hospital for $2.75 million from a private owner in 2006 after it was forced to close in December 2003 with debts exceeding $10 million.
County officials attributed the revenue increases to an almost 60% rise in admissions and increases in outpatient procedures (Kisken/Wilson, Ventura County Star, 7/11).
Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento
On July 1, the Third District Court of Appeals upheld a lower court's decision that construction on Sutter General Hospital and the Sutter Cancer Center is in full compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act, the Sacramento Business Journal reports.
In February 2007, a Sacramento Superior Court judge ruled that the project was in compliance with CEQA, but the Service Employees International Union appealed the ruling (Robertson, Sacramento Business Journal, 7/13).
Sutter Solano Medical Center, Vallejo
On Tuesday, nurses at Sutter Solano Medical Center filed a complaint with the state Division of Occupational Safety and Health alleging that they were not given proper masks to protect them from patients with the H1N1 flu virus, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
According to the complaint, about 10 nurses contracted H1N1 after the hospital failed to provide them with a specific type of filtering face mask.
Hospital spokesperson Sy Neilson said state officials came to the hospital Tuesday to investigate the allegations. Neilson said, "We believe we are in full compliance with the masks," adding that the hospital is adhering to CDC guidelines (Allday, San Francisco Chronicle, 7/15).
Valley Health System, Riverside
On July 10, Valley Health System officials announced that it had eliminated 26 full- and part-time positions because of poor economic conditions, the Riverside Press-Enterprise reports. Most of the positions were not clinical.District spokesperson Jerri Randrup said more layoffs are scheduled for the week of July 13 as the district matches "our staffing to our patient volumes as all hospitals do to operate effectively and efficiently" (Hines, Riverside Press-Enterprise, 7/10). 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.