California Hospital News Roundup for the Week of March 14, 2008
The Catholic Diocese of Oakland plans to open a no-cost health clinic in September or October at the Christ the Light Cathedral Center under construction in Oakland, the Contra Costa Times reports.
The 1,700-square-foot health clinic will be staffed by a doctor and a nurse practitioner, as well as volunteer physicians, diocesan officials said. The services would be offered at no cost to uninsured patients (Grady, Contra Costa Times, 3/8).
On Tuesday, Children's Hospital Central California raised more than $450,000 through selling the special Kids Day edition of the Fresno Bee, the Fresno Bee reports.
The $1 Kids Day editions have raised about $3.25 million since 1988 for the hospital, which is based in Madera County (Galvan, Fresno Bee, 3/11).
Children's Hospital & Research Center Oakland has signed a lease for the former Montgomery Ward building in Walnut Creek for what is expected to be an outpatient clinic, the East Bay Business Times reports (Hogarth, East Bay Business Times, 3/10).
The 21,000-square-foot facility is expected to include an imaging center and a physical therapy facility that will open in early 2009.
The business park also contains an orthopedic center that the Joint Genome Institute expanded in 2007 (Avalos, Contra Costa Times, 3/12).
On Tuesday, Community Medical Centers filed a petition with the National Labor Relations Board seeking to end the California Nurses Association's representation at the hospital group's Fresno facility, the Fresno Bee reports. CNA represents 20 nurses who work at clinics and a skilled nursing facility at Community.
The union and medical center have battled over representation for the nurses for more than a decade. Community has refused to recognize the union since taking over the former county-run hospital in 1996.
In 2003, a court ordered Community to bargain with the union, but negotiations have not led to any agreements (Correa, Fresno Bee, 3/12).
San Mateo Medical Center may have to cap the number of patients it accepts in its acute care and intensive care units to help reduce a $5 million budget deficit, Jerry Hill, county supervisor and chair of the hospital's board of directors, said, the San Francisco Examiner reports.
Once the hospital reaches it capacity in the two units, patients will be turned away, sent to other hospitals or diverted to lower-level care facilities, Hill said. He said the cap could be about 30 patients, although the average number of patients in the hospital during January 2007 was 47 (Worth, San Francisco Examiner, 3/10).
On March 21, nurses from at least eight Sutter Health facilities in the Bay Area will begin a 10-day strike, the California Nurses Association announced on Monday, the San Francisco Business Times reports.
The union said 4,000 nurses will strike for a third time in recent months because of "serious problems with patient care, medical redlining and health care for nurses." Sutter said the strikes are motivated by contract talks, and the union's desire to expand membership and influence. The nurses also had two-day walkouts in October and December 2007.
Sutter facilities immediately affected by the planned strikes include:
- Alta Bates Summit Medical Center in Berkeley and Oakland;
- California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco;
- Eden Medical Center in Castro Valley;
- Mills-Peninsula Health Services in Burlingame and San Mateo;
- San Leandro Hospital;
- Sutter Delta Medical Center in Antioch;
- St. Luke's Hospital in San Francisco; and
- Sutter Solano Medical Center in Vallejo.
Nurses at three other Sutter facilities will vote on a strike, although no dates have been determined yet, Shum Preston, a CNA spokesperson said (Rauber/Hogarth, San Francisco Business Times, 3/10).
Nurses also will walk out for one day at Fremont-Rideout Health Group in Marysville and Yuba City (Raine, San Francisco Chronicle, 3/11).
Nurses at Contra Costa Regional Medical Center in Martinez planned to strike for three days beginning on March 21, but the strike was canceled after reporting significant progress in negotiations.
On Thursday, CNA and the medical center said they think they are near an end to their dispute and will continue contract negotiations on Monday (Raine, San Francisco Chronicle, 3/14).
Pete Castelli, chief negotiator for CNA, declined to specify details, but a union news release said that the county has withdrawn its plan to cut back on nurse retirement and health care benefits (Kleffman, Contra Costa Times, 3/14).
Sutter Health has decided to continue operating Sutter Medical Center of Santa Rosa 14 months after it announced plans to sell the facility and transfer operations to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital, the San Francisco Business Times reports.
In a March 11 memo to employees, Sutter Santa Rosa CEO Mike Cohill said hospital officials had decided to "end negotiations to complete a purchase agreement and the transfer of services to Memorial." Cohill said Sutter's plans to sell the hospital fell through because of "construction timeline" issues and failure to gain county approval for the transfer of an agreement to care for the uninsured and poor county residents (Rauber, San Francisco Business Times, 3/11).