California Hospital News Roundup for the Week of June 17, 2011
Doctors Medical Center, San Pablo
A recent audit provides more details about financial strain at Doctors Medical Center, the Contra Costa Times reports. The audit, by public accounting firm Moss Adams, said the loss of anticipated federal funds and an increase in uninsured patients has contributed to the hospital's financial problems.
The hospital's board approved the audit but did not make any decisions about the hospital's future. Doctors Medical Center officials have said that without a speedy infusion of cash, the hospital might need to declare bankruptcy for the second time in five years (Kleffman, Contra Costa Times, 6/14).
El Camino Hospital, Mountain View
Chris Ernst, a hospital spokesperson, said the hospital is a private not-for-profit corporation, but it receives between $5 million and $9 million annually through a property tax. It also receives funds from a $148 million bond measure that voters approved in 2003. El Camino Hospital District -- an oversight group with an elected board of directors -- administers the taxpayer funds.
However, the grand jury report contends that the finances of the private hospital corporation and the public hospital district are "intermingled to the extent that one cannot delineate how taxpayer contributions are spent." Ernst said the hospital corporation and public district are "separate and distinct," but added that the hospital potentially could do more to improve transparency (Samuels, San Jose Mercury News, 6/17).
Marin General Hospital, Greenbrae
A longtime supporter of Marin General Hospital has donated $1 million to support three of the public district hospital's treatment institutes, the San Francisco Business Times reports.
Reta Haynes -- widow of H.J. Haynes, former CEO of the company that became Chevron -- provided the gift. Of the donation, Haynes directed that:
- $500,000 would go toward the Marin Cancer Institute;
- $450,000 would go toward the Haynes Cardiovascular Institute; and
- $50,000 would go toward the Marin Spine and Brain Institute (Rauber, San Francisco Business Times, 6/10).
Methodist Hospital of Southern California, Arcadia
The 460-bed hospital ended its agreement with Anthem in 2008, claiming the insurer had underpaid it for two years. Anthem contended that the hospital was charging too much for medical services.
Pam Kehaly, president of Anthem, said the newly reached deal will allow the health plan's policyholders to once again receive coverage for services at Methodist Hospital. (Galindo, San Gabriel Valley Tribune, 6/16).
Salinas Valley Memorial Healthcare System
Officials from the National Union of Healthcare Workers recently announced plans to hold a strike at Salinas Valley Memorial Healthcare System on June 21, the Salinas Californian reports. The strike would be the first since the public hospital district was created in 1953.
John Borsos, a spokesperson for NUHW, said the union decided to strike because SVMH management has not bargained in "good faith" over issues such as planned layoffs and cuts to health care benefits. SVMH recently announced plans to lay off as many as 150 employees this year.
Adrienne Laurent, an SVMH spokesperson, refuted NUHW's argument that the district is not bargaining in good faith. Laurent added that SVMH would be prepared if the strike occurs (Mitchell, Salinas Californian, 6/10).
Sutter General Hospital, Sacramento
Sutter Health is building a pedestrian bridge to connect the second, third and fourth floors of Sutter General Hospital and the Anderson Lucchetti Women's and Children's Center, which is under construction, the Sacramento Bee reports.
Sacramento officials approved the project partly because of the need to transport patients from one acute care facility to another, hospital officials said. Starting this week, a portion of L Street near Sutter General Hospital will be closed to allow for construction of the pedestrian bridge (Lindelof, Sacramento Bee, 6/11).
Tri-City Medical Center, Oceanside
Tri-City Medical Center plans to use a $50,000 donation to purchase equipment aimed at improving treatment for infants and pregnant women, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.
The donation came from the Tri-City Hospital Foundation's Corporate Council. The funds will go toward the purchase of a $30,000 fetal monitor and four biliblankets, which are used to treat infants with jaundice (Scharn, San Diego Union-Tribune, 6/12).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.