California Hospital News Roundup for the Week of June 30, 2011
John Muir Health, Concord and Walnut Creek
John Muir Health intends to create an accountable care organization that would link its facilities in Concord and Walnut Creek with its physician network by July 2012, the San Francisco Business Times reports.
John Muir Health officials announced the decision through an internal newsletter distributed to the systemâs 926 affiliated physicians. It remains unclear whether the health system's ACO will be part of the federal government's efforts to promote ACOs under the federal health reform law.
Paul Swenson, president and CEO of the John Muir Physician Network, said the health system has major concerns about the federal government's proposed ACO rules. He said, "If nothing changes in the (Medicare ACO) regs, then neither us nor anybody else will go forward" (Rauber, San Francisco Business Times, 6/24).
La Clinica de la Raza, Concord
Construction is about halfway complete for a new 17,000 square-foot La Clinica de la Raza facility in Concord, the Contra Costa Times reports.
The $10.6 million medical, optical and dental facility -- which is scheduled to open in early 2012 -- will be about three times larger than the Pleasant Hill center it is replacing. Compared with the Pleasant Hill site, the new La Clinica facility will increase the number of medical exam rooms from five to 12 and the number of dental chairs from six to 12. The Concord location is one of 26 La Clinica sites in the San Francisco Bay Area (Guzzetti, Contra Costa Times, 6/26).
Marin General Hospital, Greenbrae
Nearly one year after Sutter Health stopped managing Marin General Hospital, Marin Healthcare District officials say they have strengthened the hospital's financial standing and created new partnerships with health care organizations, the Marin Independent Journal reports.
Lee Domanico, CEO of the health care district, said that during the first five months of 2011, the hospital saw an increase in surgical volumes, emergency department visits and outpatient volumes. He also said the hospital took in $71 million in net patient revenue during the first quarter of 2011, compared with $70.5 million during the first quarter of 2010, when Sutter Health managed the hospital. In addition, the health care district has taken over the operation of four medical practices, the Independent Journal reports (Halstead, Marin Independent Journal, 6/25).
Salinas Valley Memorial Healthcare System
Management consulting firm McKinsey has recommended that Salinas Valley Memorial Healthcare System continue to cut costs and possibly pursue an affiliation or partnership with a larger health system, the Salinas Californian reports.
Adrienne Laurent, spokesperson for SVMH, said the health district asked its law firm to hire McKinsey to prepare "strategic business and financial plans." The Californian obtained a copy of McKinsey's report, which noted that a merger or affiliation could improve SVMH's financial position and reduce supply and labor costs.
Jim Gattis, president of SVMH's board of directors, said in a written statement that the health system's board "will consider" the affiliation option but "prefers to remain independent if that is feasible" (Mitchell, Salinas Californian, 6/28).
Stanford Hospital & Clinics, Palo Alto
On Monday, Stanford Hospital & Clinics opened its new Stanford Women's Cancer Center, the Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal reports.
Physician Jonathan Berek is the director of the new center, which is an extension of the Stanford Cancer Institute. The new center will provide a single location for diagnosis, treatment, research and clinical trials for women with breast or gynecological cancers (Sibley, Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal, 6/23).
St. Bernardine Medical Center, San Bernardino
This week, St. Bernardine Medical Center is closing its 20-bed pediatric unit to reduce costs and improve efficiency, the Riverside Press-Enterprise.
Starting Friday, children up to age 13 who need short-term inpatient hospital care will go to Community Hospital of San Bernardino. Both hospitals are operated by Catholic Healthcare West. St. Bernardine will continue to operate its neonatal intensive care unit and its Baby and Family Center.
Steve Barron, St. Bernardine's president, said pediatric unit employees will not be laid off but will be transferred to other units or to Community Hospital (Hines, Riverside Press-Enterprise, 6/26).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.