California Hospital News Roundup for the Week of July 24, 2009
Eden Medical Center, Castro Valley
On July 13, the California Nurses Association labor union filed a lawsuit in Alameda County Superior Court alleging that the county did not properly complete the required environmental impact report for the rebuilding of Eden Medical Center, the Contra Costa Times reports.
The lawsuit also claims the EIR does not adequately address concerns regarding traffic, and ground and water contaminations, as well as reiterating CNA's claim that the rebuild is linked to the likely closure of San Leandro Hospital.
The report was approved by supervisors in June and construction began on July 1 (Noceda, Contra Costa Times, 7/17).
John Muir Health, Walnut Creek/Concord
On July 21, the John Muir Health Foundation said it raised $4 million to purchase two daVinci robotic surgery systems for John Muir Health's Walnut Creek and Concord campuses, the San Francisco Business Times reports.
The robots allow surgeons to perform minimally invasive procedures involving urological, gynecological, cancer and colorectal care (Rauber, San Francisco Business Times, 7/21).
Rancho Springs Medical Center/Inland Valley Medical Center, Riverside County
CMS has granted Southwest Healthcare a six-month extension to make broad changes at Rancho Springs Medical Center and Inland Valley Medical Center that would allow them to continue receiving reimbursements for treating Medicare and Medi-Cal beneficiaries, the Riverside Press-Enterprise reports. Medi-Cal is California's Medicaid program.
The extension allows Southwest Healthcare more time to hire a federally approved consultant, or "quality monitor," to oversee operations at the two facilities.
The consultant will have six months to prepare the hospitals for the next round of federal inspections, which will determine whether the hospitals can continue participating in Medicare and Medi-Cal (Burgin, Riverside Press-Enterprise, 7/17).
Tulare Regional Medical Center
On July 14, the Tulare Regional Medical Center's expansion project officially began with the demolition of one of the facility's buildings, the Tulare Advance-Register reports.
The $85 million expansion project includes the construction of a new tower that will increase emergency department capacity by 400%, and is expected to be completed by 2012.
The tower will include surgical sites, a birthing center, 27 private rooms and a heliport (Hernandez, Tulare Advance-Register, 7/15).
UCSF Children's Hospital, San Francisco
On July 20, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors' land use committee issued a recommendation that the board approve UCSF's plans to build a helipad on top of Mission Bay Children Hospital, which is scheduled to open in 2014, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
Advocates of the helipad say it would allow the hospital to quickly receive critically ill children and pregnant women from around the region.
However, some residents in the area argue that the resulting noise would be too much of a disturbance (Knight, San Francisco Chronicle, 7/21).
VA Palo Alto Health Care System
The Department of Veterans Affairs has confirmed that its Palo Alto facility placed the chief of optometry on administrative leave and reassigned another optometrist during an investigation into the cases of hundreds of eye patients, some of whom experienced significant vision loss while receiving care from the hospital, the San Jose Mercury News reports.
In February, the Palo Alto facility started a three-month review that looked at 381 patient charts and reported that 23 glaucoma patients being treated in the optometry department experienced "progressive visual loss."
The department informed seven of those patients that improper care might have caused their loss of vision, and two of the seven patients have filed lawsuits.
VA determined that in some cases, the department did not follow requirements that medical doctors be consulted when treating glaucoma cases (Bernstein-Wax, San Jose Mercury News , 7/22).On Wednesday, the California Optometric Association voiced its support for the facility's chief of optometry (Bernstein-Wax, San Jose Mercury News , 7/22). 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.