California Hospital News Roundup for the Week of June 10, 2011
Anderson Lucchetti Women's and Children's Center, Sacramento
On Tuesday, construction workers raised the last beam on Sutter Hospital's Anderson Lucchetti Women's and Children's Center, the Sacramento Bee reports.
The new 10-story facility is scheduled to open in 2013. When it opens, the 242-bed medical center will replace Sutter Memorial Hospital in east Sacramento (Lindelof, Sacramento Bee, 6/8).
California Pacific Medical Center, San Francisco
On Monday, California Pacific Medical Center criticized San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee's (D) request that the hospital provide $108 million in community benefit funds in exchange for city approval of CPMC's expansion plans, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
The Sutter-affiliated hospital system is seeking approval to build a new 555-bed hospital and a nine-story medical office building. The mayor has asked CPMC to contribute funds for affordable housing, commit to hiring city residents for the construction and pay for health care for low-income residents, among other stipulations. CPMC officials said the mayor's request would make the rebuilding project "fiscally impossible," adding that the actual cost of the mayor's 36-item proposal would reach $2 billion over the next 50 years (Knight, San Francisco Chronicle, 6/7).
Doctors Medical Center, San Pablo
On Monday, officials at Doctors Medical Center in San Pablo called a special meeting to discuss the hospital's financial troubles, despite the $10 million advance it received from Contra Costa County, the Contra Costa Times reports.
County Supervisor John Gioia, chair of the hospital's governing board, said the medical center has learned that it likely will receive significantly less state funding this year than it did in previous years. Hospital officials have been in talks with Kaiser Permanente and John Muir Health about providing financial assistance to the medical center.
Gioia said that the hospital -- which emerged from bankruptcy in 2008 -- might need to consider declaring bankruptcy again if it does not obtain additional funding soon (Kleffman, Contra Costa Times, 6/3).
Highland Hospital, Oakland
Highland Hospital recently broke ground on its new $668 million Highland Acute Care Tower Replacement Project, which is a rebuilding of the hospital's main facilities, the Oakland Tribune reports.
Many of the hospital's existing buildings are more than 80 years old and seismically unsound. The rebuilding project calls for the construction of a new building for urgent care, cardiac care, respiratory therapy, oncology, hematology and other services, as well as a new 169-bed acute care center for inpatient, maternal and support services. Alameda County plans to use bond financing and about $50 million in tobacco tax revenue to help fund the project (Bender, Oakland Tribune, 6/3).
John Muir Medical Center, Walnut Creek
The Theresa M. Caygill Breast Health Center recently opened at John Muir Medical Center in Walnut Creek, the Contra Costa Times reports.
Theresa Caygill -- an honorary member of the John Muir Health Foundation Board of Directors -- provided a gift that fully funded the creation of the center. Hospital leaders said the center aims to provide patients with information and resources on breast health and breast cancer (Kleffman, Contra Costa Times, 6/7).
Mayers Memorial Hospital District, Fall River Mills
Matt Rees, CEO of Mayers Memorial Hospital District, recently traveled to Washington, D.C., with members of the California Hospital Association to protest pending state cuts to Medi-Cal, California's Medicaid program, the Redding Record Searchlight reports.
CMS officials must approve the cuts before they can take effect. Rees said the cuts would reduce his hospital's budget by $1.4 million and force the medical center to close its obstetrics department and one of its two long-term care centers. Rees noted that the state has until June 30 to send federal regulators its plan for implementing the cuts (Sabalow, Redding Record Searchlight, 6/4).
Kaiser Permanente, San Diego
On Tuesday, Kaiser Permanente officially opened its Garfield Specialty Center, a medical office building aimed at addressing multiple health care needs in San Diego, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.
Mary Ann Barnes -- senior vice president and executive director at Kaiser -- said the last two floors of the 172,000 square-foot facility will be completed in the next 18 months. When complete, the facility will include general medical offices and 58 specialty care units (Kenney, San Diego Union-Tribune, 6/8).
Moreno Valley is moving forward with a plan to create a medical campus on a 200-acre property near the Riverside County Regional Medical Center, the Riverside Press-Enterprise reports.
The city council approved the concept for the medical campus in April. Some observers have expressed concern that the proposed campus would directly compete with the March Joint Powers Authority, which is working to build a medical campus on the former March Air Force Base property. However, local officials say the region has significant health care needs and could support two medical centers (Lucas et al., Riverside Press-Enterprise, 6/2).
Bruce Coleman -- economic development director for the city of Murrieta -- is visiting with various hospital leaders throughout Southern California to encourage the construction of medical centers in Southwest Riverside County, the North County Times reports.
Coleman said, "There is definitely interest in this area, and there's a recognition that the area definitely has an issue of bed shortages." Elected leaders in the region are considering establishing a health care commission to foster communication with hospital industry representatives about the area's health care needs (Rodriguez, North County Times, 6/4).
Petaluma Health Center
By June 15, the Petaluma Health Center plans to open its new $15.5 million facility specializing in health services for uninsured and underserved populations, the North Bay Business Journal reports.
The new federally qualified health center -- which will be about three times larger than Petaluma Health Center's existing facility -- will include 44 medical examination rooms and nine dental rooms. It also will include an area for behavioral health and OB/GYN services. The expansion project received about $8.9 million in funding support from the 2009 federal economic stimulus package (Verel, North Bay Business Journal, 6/6).
Saint Agnes Medical Center, Fresno
On Wednesday, Saint Agnes Medical Center announced plans to lay off 129 workers and reduce work hours for 21 employees, theÂ Fresno BeeÂ reports.
The hospital said the staffing reductionsÂ are necessaryÂ as the hospital struggles to deal with the economic downturn, declining government reimbursements and changes under the federal health reformÂ lawÂ (Anderson, Fresno Bee, 6/9). Saint Agnes said the reductions would take effect sometime in fiscal year 2012, which begins on July 1. The hospital noted that employees who are laid off would receive separation packages (Anderson, Fresno Bee, 6/8).
San Joaquin General Hospital, French Camp
On Tuesday, San Joaquin County officials approved a $2 million contract to construct a specialized secure unit for state prison inmates who receive care at San Joaquin General Hospital, the Stockton Record reports.
As part of a legal settlement, the state will reimburse the county up to $4 million to convert the hospital's 25-bed medical surgical unit into the secure unit. The settlement stems from a legal challenge that local officials filed against the state's plans to construct a large prison medical facility outside of Stockton (Stockton Record, 6/9).
Sierra Kings District Hospital, Reedley
Voters in the Sierra Kings Health Care District have approved a plan to sell the bankrupt Sierra Kings District Hospital to Adventist Health, the Fresno Bee reports.
The two health systems reached a sale agreement earlier this year, but it required voter approval before it could move forward. The agreement includes a 15-year lease of Sierra Kings District Hospital, valued at about $12 million. Some of the proceeds from the sale will be used to retire the hospital district's revenue bonds (Fresno Bee, 6/7).
Stanford Hospital & Clinics and Lucile Packard Children's Hospital, Palo Alto
On Monday, the Palo Alto City Council approved Stanford University's hospital expansion project after four years of negotiations and debates, the San Jose Mercury News reports.
The $5 billion project will expand the university's hospital, clinics and medical offices by 1.3 million square feet. The expansion will add 144 beds to Stanford Hospital & Clinics, 104 beds to Lucile Packard Children's Hospital and create more private patient rooms. In exchange for project approval, Stanford has committed to a development agreement that includes almost $175 million in community benefits (Samuels, San Jose Mercury News, 6/7).
Sutter Health, San Francisco
Sutter Health has reached a deal to move 102 jobs and a patient billing unit from San Francisco to Concord, the Contra Costa Times reports.
Kevin McCormack, spokesperson for Sutter, said the move "saves us a lot of money on rent." He added that patient billing work "could be done anywhere." Sutter expects to be in its new location by Sept. 1 (Avalos, Contra Costa Times, 6/2).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.