California Hospital News Roundup for the Week of July 2, 2010
Alameda Hospital officials recently announced they had reached a deal with a California Nurses Association bargaining unit on a contract that includes no wage increases for registered nurses, the San Francisco Business Times reports.
Nurses at the hospital voted to approve the contract on June 22. One day later, the City of Alameda Health Care District Board signed a memorandum of understanding, which expires June 30, 2012.
The three-year contract calls for the creation of a joint-labor management committee if the lack of salary increases becomes an issue in the future (Rauber, San Francisco Business Times, 6/29).
Avalon Health Care, Sonora
Avalon Health Care has broken ground on an addition to its convalescent hospital in Sonora, the Modesto Bee reports. The 92-bed expansion will raise the facility's capacity to 212 beds overall.
Once the addition is completed, Tuolumne County will shutter its long-term care center at the former Tuolumne General Hospital and transfer residents to the Avalon facility. Construction is expected to take one year (Modesto Bee, 6/26).
Children's Hospital of Orange County, Orange
An investigation by the state Department of Public Health found that a surgical team from Children's Hospital of Orange County failed to follow proper protocol in a case involving wrong-site surgery, the Orange County Register reports. The facility has been implicated in three wrong-site surgery incidents during the past four years.
The report also identified two instances in which confidential patient records were faxed to incorrect numbers.
Hospital officials said they regret the incidents and have implemented policy and process improvements (Perkes, Orange County Register, 6/25).
Enloe Medical Center, Chico
Officials at Enloe Medical Center have notified the state that they intend to appeal a $130,000 fine levied against the facility for failing to prevent unauthorized access to patient health information, the Chico Enterprise-Record reports.
Enloe CEO Mike Wiltermood said the appeal -- which could take up to two years to process -- argues that Enloe abided by state law, which requires hospitals to do "everything reasonable and appropriate" to protect patient confidentiality (Mitchell, Chico Enterprise-Record, 6/29).
Laguna Honda HospitalÂ & Rehabilitation Center, San Francisco
On Sunday, officials held a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the completion of the first phase of a $584 million replacement facility for Laguna Honda HospitalÂ & Rehabilitation Center, the San Francisco Business Times reports.
The 780-bed replacement center is expected to begin admitting long-term care residents in September. In addition to skilled nursing care, Laguna Honda provides rehabilitation services to patients who have had strokes, traumatic brain injuries, neurological disorders and other disabilities (Rauber, San Francisco Business Times, 6/25).
Los Robles Hospital & Medical Center, Thousand Oaks
On Wednesday, Ventura County launched a new system that will direct patients in need of trauma care to Los Robles Hospital & Medical Center, which has been named the east county trauma center, the Ventura County Star reports. The new system will be limited to regions east of the Conejo Grade.
On July 12, the county is scheduled to begin its trauma system for the western region of the county. Ventura County Medical Center recently received designation as the west county trauma center, after an unsuccessful challenge by St. John's Regional Medical Center in Oxnard (Kisken, Ventura County Star, 6/30).
March LifeCare, March Air Reserve Base
A group of investors are moving forward on a plan to develop a large-scale medical complex called March LifeCare at March Air Reserve Base, the Riverside Press-Enterprise reports.
Investors expect to prepare plots for construction and sell them to third parties, including health care providers and retail companies.
Project organizers said they aim to open the medical complex to patients by the end of 2011 (Hines, Riverside Press-Enterprise, 6/27).
Marin General Hospital, Greenbrae
On June 29, the Marin County Board of Supervisors sent a letter saying it would support "all reasonable efforts" -- including litigation -- to regain approximately $182 million from Sutter Health, the Marin Independent Journal reports (Johnson, Marin Independent Journal, 6/29).
Marin Healthcare District regained control of the hospital from Sutter Health on June 30 (Halstead, Marin Independent Journal, 6/30). Sutter Health has leased Marin General Hospital since 1996 (Colliver, San Francisco Chronicle, 6/28).
County supervisors said they support a smooth transition and settlement of the funding issue, but added that they would consider filing a lawsuit if Sutter does not return the money.
Sutter said it expects the district to initiate legal action and that it will defend itself against potential allegations (Marin Independent Journal, 6/29).
Parkview Community Hospital Medical Center, Riverside
On Tuesday, Parkview Community Hospital Medical Center officials announced that they had paid off the hospital's estimated $27.5 million debt to allow the facility to avoid foreclosure, the Riverside Press-Enterprise reports. The hospital paid the funds to Prime Healthcare Services, which bought Parkview's debt in December.
Several unnamed sources -- including private institutional lenders, local doctors and national health plans -- helped Parkview pay off its debt. The hospital plans to pay off the loan after it secures acceptance into a federal refinancing program designed to improve hospitals' access to capital during the recession (Hines, Riverside Press-Enterprise, 6/29).
San Joaquin General Hospital, French Camp
On Thursday, registered nurses from San Joaquin County's Health Care Services Agency held a demonstration in front of San Joaquin General Hospital to protest the layoff of 14 nurses, the Stockton Record reports. The layoffs take effect on Friday.
An officials with the agency said the layoffs were the result of reductions in state and federal funding, combined with a loss in county revenue (Goldeen, Stockton Record, 7/1).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.