California Hospital News Roundup for the Week of March 16, 2012
Behavioral Health Department/Arrowhead Regional Medical Center, Rialto
San Bernardino County recently opened an expanded health center in Rialto that will provide patients with access to medical and mental health care services, the Riverside Press-Enterprise reports.
Since 1999, the facility has housed the Behavioral Health Department's crisis walk-in center, adult and children's outpatient services, alcohol and drug treatment services and consumer clubhouse.
As part of the $2 million expansion, Arrowhead Regional Medical Center's Westside Family Health Center has moved from its previous location in San Bernardino to become part of the Behavioral Health Department's facility. The new location increased the size of ARMC's health center from 7,000 square feet to about 15,000 square feet, and the number of exam rooms from 12 to 21 (Ghori, Riverside Press-Enterprise, 3/7).
Loma Linda University Medical Center
The Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation has awarded a $5,000 Quality of Life grant to Loma Linda University Medical Center's East Campus, the Riverside Press-Enterprise reports.
The hospital will use the funds to help buy training equipment for its PossAbilities Paralympic program, which seeks to help athletes with paralysis and other mobility impairment issues qualify for the Paralympic Games (Riverside Press-Enterprise, 3/9).
Los Robles Hospital & Medical Center, Thousand Oaks
Unless a new deal is reached between Los Robles Hospital & Medical Center and Anthem Blue Cross, individuals covered by Anthem will not be able to access lower, in-network rates at Los Robles and other hospitals owned by HCA, the Ventura County Star reports.
According to Anthem spokesperson Darrel Ng, HCA terminated a previous contract with the insurer.
Greg Angle, CEO of the hospital, said that Los Robles has tried for months to reach a new agreement with Anthem on payment rates. Angle said in a letter to physicians last week that certain medical procedures already authorized by Anthem still will qualify for in-network rates if negotiators cannot reach a new deal. In addition, rates for emergency care services will not be affected by negotiations, according to the Star (Kisken, Ventura County Star, 3/12).
St. Rose Hospital, Hayward
On Monday, Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West endorsed a proposal to establish a joint-powers authority to preserve St. Rose Hospital, the Contra Costa Times reports.
St. Rose has been losing about $1 million each month and is searching for ways to stay open. Officials from SEIU-UHW -- which represents about 150,000 health care workers -- said they endorsed the plan because St. Rose needs to remain a community hospital.
Meanwhile, the Alameda County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday announced it would consider approving a $2 million financial infusion into the hospital and authorize county officials to negotiate a possible deal with Washington Hospital in Fremont that would help St. Rose remain open (Dennis, Contra Costa Times, 3/12).
On Wednesday, members of the California Nurses Association-National Nurses United approved a new contract with six Tenet Healthcare hospitals that gives the nurses a 13.5% pay hike over four years, the San Francisco Business Times reports.
The contract applies to about 2,700 registered nurses employed at the hospitals. According to the union, the four-year contract includes a 3% retroactive pay increase for 2011 and a 10.5% increase over the next three years.
In a statement, Tenet said, "After a long process, we're pleased to have an agreement with the California Nurses Association and believe we reached a good outcome for our nurses and our hospitals" (Rauber, San Francisco Business Times, 3/14).
UC-Davis Cancer Center, Sacramento
The National Cancer Institute has designated the UC-Davis Cancer Center as one of 40 "comprehensive" cancer centers in the U.S., the Sacramento Bee reports.
To receive the designation, the center needed to meet certain standards for cancer treatment, research and funding. UC-Davis said total research funding for the center has grown from $45 million in 2001 to about $107 million by the end of 2011. In addition, a $37 million expansion project is expected to nearly double the size of the center by September.
To retain the designation, the cancer must continue to meet NCI's criteria and reapply in a few years (Garza, Sacramento Bee, 3/14).
ValleyCare Health System, Dublin
ValleyCare Health System plans to open an urgent care center on April 16, the Contra Costa Times reports.
Denise Bouillerce -- a spokesperson for ValleyCare -- said the center will provide an "after hours" care option for sprains and other medical conditions that do not require a visit to an emergency department. She said the system expects to treat about 20 or more patients daily (Cuff, Contra Costa Times, 3/15).
Ventura County Medical Center
On Tuesday, the Ventura County Board of Supervisors failed to secure enough votes to approve a project labor agreement for a construction effort at Ventura County Medical Center, the Ventura County Star reports.
The board has been trying to reach a deal since January to promote local hiring for the hospital's $250 million seismic safety upgrade project. However, negotiations have stalled because of differing views on how many nonunion employees could be hired and the process for resolving disputes involving carpenters.
The board said the cost of delaying the project is rising by about $400,000 each month (Wilson, Ventura County Star, 3/13).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.