California Hospital News Roundup for the Week of June 25, 2010
Children's Hospital Central California, Madera
In an effort to expand its interpreting resources, Children's Hospital Central California is piloting new videoconferencing technology and telephone services, The Business Journal reports.
The technology will provide patients with visual aid in more than 12 languages. Hospital staff can use the tools to exchange information with interpreters or outside agencies.
The upgrade is supported by a $167,000 grant through a collaboration with the Health Care Interpreter Network. After six months, the hospital will evaluate whether to keep the equipment and expand its language offerings (The Business Journal, 6/21).
County-USC Medical Center, Los Angeles
On Tuesday, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors discussed a new report that found that County-USC Medical Center's emergency department was "dangerously overcrowded" for more than 10% of the month of May, compared with about 2% of the time in April, the Los Angeles Times reports.
County-USC's ED has faced challenges with overcrowding since it relocated to its current facility in November 2008. Although the ED in the new facility has 40% more beds than the older center, the new facility has 25% fewer beds for admitted patients (Lin, Los Angeles Times, 6/23).
Kaiser Permanente, Elk Grove
On June 16, Kaiser Permanente began construction on a $38 million, 67,000-square-foot medical office building in Elk Grove, the Sacramento Business Journal reports.
The new building will offer adult medicine, pediatrics, women's health, sports medicine, health education and other services. Construction of the two-story facility is expected to be completed in late 2011 (Robertson, Sacramento Business Journal, 6/17).
Los Robles Hospital & Medical Center, Thousand Oaks
On June 18, health care workers protested inadequate staffing levels outside of Los Robles Hospital & Medical Center in Thousand Oaks, the Ventura County Star reports. The workers are members of the Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West, which currently is negotiating contracts with the facility.
Union members said the hospital did not abide by state-mandated nurse-to-patient ratios. Hospital officials disputed the allegations and called the protests a negotiation tactic (Kisken, Ventura County Star, 6/19).
Marin General Hospital, Greenbrae
As Marin Healthcare District prepares to regain control of Marin General Hospital on June 30, the district is considering action to regain more than $150 million from Sutter Health, which has operated Marin General since 1995, the San Francisco Business Times reports.
According to district officials, Sutter Health recently transferred $160 million from the hospital and is expected to transfer an additional $20 million before the end of the month.
Jon Friedenberg -- Marin Healthcare District's chief fund and business development officer -- said the district would "do everything within our power to get those funds returned."
Sutter Health has said the financial transfers were appropriate and in line with California charitable trust laws (Rauber, San Francisco Business Times, 6/18).
Moreno Valley Physicians Group
Moreno Valley Physicians Group has joined Riverside Medical Clinic and Catholic Healthcare West to develop a new health care delivery system at a medical campus slated for construction at the former March Air Force Base, the Riverside Press-Enterprise reports.
March Healthcare Development is overseeing the project. The stakeholder organizations plan to spend the next six months developing a joint business structure for the new medical campus (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 6/22).
Regional Medical Center of San Jose
On Monday, the Regional Medical Center in East San Jose will begin moving its first patients into the hospital's newly completed wing, the first phase of a $300 million multiyear expansion project, the San Jose Mercury News reports.
Hospital officials said they plan to offer cancer and heart diagnostic technology at the new million extension, which also includes office space for staff, an open-heart operating theater, an expanded intensive care unit, new centralized nurse stations and 77 private patient rooms.
The medical center plans to spend an additional $140 million on transitioning from the old hospital building and constructing new specialty units (Chang, San Jose Mercury News, 6/23).
San Joaquin General Hospital, French Camp
On Tuesday, the San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors approved a new operational structure that would make San Joaquin General Hospital a stand-alone county department with an interim board of trustees, the Lodi News-Sentinel reports.
The new structure aims to help the county-owned hospital become a more self-supporting operation.
Under the new structure, the interim board of trustees would run the hospital and make recommendations to the Board of Supervisors. The Board of Supervisors also awarded a contract of up to $140,000 to consulting firm Witt-Kieffer to identify candidates for a hospital CEO (Farrow, Lodi News-Sentinel, 6/23).
Scripps Coastal Medical Center, San Diego County
On June 18, San Diego-based Scripps Coastal Medical Center announced that it intends to expand its primary care services by acquiring Del Mar Medical Clinic, HealthLeaders Media reports.
Under the deal, which is expected to be finalized by Sept. 1, Del Mar's physicians and 16 other employees would become employees of Scripps Health. Once completed, Del Mar Medical Clinic would become the 10th Scripps Coastal Medical Center location in San Diego County (Commins, HealthLeaders Media, 6/18).
Scripps Proton Therapy Center
Scripps Health has announced plans to open a $185 million, 102,000-square-foot cancer treatment center in San Diego, the AP/Ventura County Star reports (AP/Ventura County Star, 6/22).
The Scripps Proton Therapy Center, which will use proton beams to target tumors, will be the second such facility to open in the West and the ninth such facility in the country. The facility is projected to treat approximately 2,400 patients annually (Clark, HealthLeaders Media, 6/22).
Groundbreaking for the facility is expected to take place in July, with a target opening date scheduled for 2013 (AP/Ventura County Star, 6/22).
Southwest Healthcare System, Riverside County
ECRI Institute, a Pennsylvania-based not-for-profit organization, has been tasked with overseeing quality improvements at Inland Valley Medical Center in Wildomar and Rancho Springs Medical Center in Murrieta, the Riverside Press-Enterprise reports.
Southwest Healthcare System owns both hospitals, which are at risk of losing their state licenses and Medicare reimbursements because of recent patient safety lapses. ECRI representatives will submit reports about Southwest Healthcare's progress to CMS, which has given the hospital system one year to fix the patient care issues (Horseman, Riverside Press-Enterprise, 6/18).
Ventura County Medical Center, Ventura
On Tuesday, the Ventura County Board of Supervisors named the Ventura County Medical Center as the west county trauma center, the Ventura County Star reports. VCMC is slated to begin operating as the trauma center on July 12.
St. John's Regional Medical Center in Oxnard, which also was under consideration for the trauma center designation, said it will not file a legal challenge to the supervisors' decision (Kisken, Ventura County Star, 6/24).
West Hills Hospital, Los Angeles
On June 17, certified nurse assistants, emergency department technicians and respiratory care practitioners who belong to SEIU-UHW participated in a demonstration at West Hills Hospital, the Los Angeles Daily News reports.
The workers protested over low staffing levels and other workplace issues (Los Angeles Daily News, 6/17).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.