California Hospital News Roundup for the Week of June 5, 2009
Lucile Packard Children's Hospital, Palo Alto
On May 29, Lucile Packard Children's Hospital CEO Christopher Dawes said that completion of the hospital's expansion project is likely to be delayed until 2015 or 2016Â because of holdups in obtaining entitlements from the city of Palo Alto, the San Francisco Business Times reports.
The approximately $1 billion addition was originally scheduled to be finished in 2014.Â It will include two 100-bed pavilions divided in half between intensive care and medical-surgical beds, up to seven new operating rooms, additional imaging capabilities and cath labs (Rauber, San Francisco Business Times, 5/29).
Presbyterian Intercommunity Hospital, Whittier
On June 3, Presbyterian Intercommunity Hospital announced it is terminating its contract with Medi-Cal effective July 31 and will no longer accept the program's beneficiaries, except in emergencies or as outpatients, the Whittier Daily News reports.
Medi-Cal is California's Medicaid program.
According to the hospital, the "most recent rate offer by the state does not come close to covering PIH's expenses for the care of the Medi-Cal patients treated at the hospital."
Hospital officials said PIH lost $17.8 million in 2008 because of uncompensated costs (Palma Markus, Whittier Daily News, 6/3).
St. Joseph Health System/Redwood Memorial, Humboldt County
On June 1, St. Joseph Health System announced to its employees that all wages, signing bonuses, employee referral bonuses and "at-risk" management compensation will be frozen through fiscal year 2009-2010, the Eureka Times Standard reports.
Hospital officials noted that no layoffs are planned for the future and that practices regarding patients will not be changed.
Redwood Memorial also recently announced a wage freeze (Greenson, Eureka Times Standard, 6/3).
Tri-City Medical Center, Oceanside
On May 28, the Tri-City Healthcare District board voted 4-3 against a proposal by physicians to evaluate how effectively Tri-City Medical Center is being managed and to potentially sign with a different operator, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.
According to the Union-Tribune, doctors at the facility have been calling for a change in how the hospital is run since December 2008, when a new board majority voted out the CEO and seven administrators.
Richard Burruss, chief of medical staff at the hospital, said the physicians were "very disappointed that the board couldn't see the wisdom of looking at the advantages, ... of looking at our governance structure" (Burge, San Diego Union-Tribune, 5/29).
In other Tri-City news, the medical center filed a lawsuit against Scripps Health and its affiliated physicians on June 2 seeking a restraining order against the hospital system for risking the health of area patients, the North County Times reports.
Tri-City Medical Center alleges that the physicians, who used to refer patients to Tri-City, are now telling nonemergency patients from the area to have surgeries and other medical procedures at hospitals in the Scripps network, the closest of which is 20 miles south of the Tri-City district.
According to Tri-City, making area patients travel substantial distances for care could endanger their lives (Sisson, North County Times, 6/2).
UC-San Francisco Helen Diller Family Cancer Research Building, Mission Bay
On Tuesday, UC-San Francisco's Helen Diller Family Cancer Research Building will officially open, increasing the university's cancer research space and bringing together many researchers who have been housed in different buildings, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
According to the Chronicle, the new $135 million building will be used exclusively for research, rather than for treating patients.
Frank McCormick, director of the UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center, said the goal of the building is for researchers to collaborate on each other's work as "one interactive community, tackling problems by sharing our ideas" (Colliver, San Francisco Chronicle, 5/31).
Vista Hospital, Riverside
Vista Hospital will undergo a second federal inspection to determine if it complies with patient care regulations after a 2008 patient death investigation revealed several violations, the Riverside Press-Enterprise reports.
In February, CMS warned Vista that it could lose its Medicare funding if it does not address a number of violations, including:
- Delayed response or unresponsiveness to life-threatening emergencies;
- Inadequate infection control; and
- Failure to properly dispense and track medications.
The 40-bed hospital has filed a correction plan that was approved by state regulators.
No date has been set for the follow-up investigation, but CMS typically conducts such visits about 90 days after initially warning a facility about violations (Hines, Riverside Press-Enterprise, 5/28).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.