California Hospital News Roundup for the Week of March 4, 2011
Inland Behavioral and Health Services, Banning
Last week, Inland Behavioral and Health Services broke ground on a $3.5 million primary care facility in Banning that aims to serve 5,000 uninsured or underinsured residents, the San Bernardino County Sun reports.
The clinic will be IBHS' first facility outside San Bernardino County. Officials saw Banning as a site for expansion because of its large number of uninsured residents. The new two-story building is expected to open in November (Steinberg, San Bernardino County Sun, 2/25).
Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Medical Center
On Wednesday, nurses at Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Medical Center held a 24-hour strike because of stalled progress in contract negotiations, the AP/Bloomberg Businessweek reports (AP/Bloomberg Businessweek, 3/2).
The nurses, who are represented by the National Union of Healthcare Workers, said they organized the strike to bring attention to staffing levels and other patient care issues (Bouchard, Healthcare Finance News, 3/2). Kaiser Permanente said that it is continuing to bargain in good faith and that the hospital has remained open (AP/Bloomberg Businessweek, 3/2).
Loma Linda University Medical Center-Murrieta
Officials have postponed the planned March 7 opening of Loma Linda University Medical Center-Murrieta because an inspection by the California Department of Public Health has been delayed, the Riverside Press-Enterprise reports.
Kathryn Stiles, spokesperson for the hospital, said officials now estimate that the $211 million, 106-bed acute care facility will open later this month. Stiles said the DPH inspection was delayed because infusion pumps were recalled by manufacturers. Inspectors now must wait for the new pumps to arrive before providing the hospital with a license (Hill, Riverside Press-Enterprise, 2/28).
Martin Luther King, Jr. Hospital, Los Angeles
Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas recently said that he hopes to secure a project labor agreement to ensure that officials hire a high percentage of local residents to work on the Martin Luther King, Jr. Hospital construction project, KPCC's "KPCC News" reports.
A PLA, which supersedes union contracts, can help officials provide on-the-job training for workers. Los Angeles County supervisors plan to consider a PLA for the hospital project during a meeting scheduled for March 15 (Nazario, "KPCC News," KPCC, 3/2).
Parkview Community Hospital Medical Center, Riverside
Parkview Community Hospital Medical Center recently secured a $29 million federal loan, becoming the first hospital to go through a federal program that refinances hospital debt without requiring new construction or renovation, the Riverside Press-Enterprise reports.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced that it would back a mortgage loan to the hospital through a program created to improve hospitals' access to funds during the economic downturn. The loan will help Parkview pay off an estimated $27.5 million owed to Prime Healthcare Services, which had started foreclosure proceedings against the hospital (Hines, Riverside Press-Enterprise, 2/28).
Providence Tarzana Medical Center
On Wednesday, nearly 100 heart surgery patients criticized Providence Tarzana Medical Center's plan to close its cardiac rehabilitation program on March 25, the Los Angeles Daily News reports.
The hospital decided to close the facility partly because of financial concerns. During a community meeting with Providence Tarzana CEO Dale Surowitz, patients said they would face difficulty finding similar cardiac rehabilitation programs in the San Fernando Valley region. Surowitz said patients will be referred to neighboring facilities when the program closes (Abram, Los Angeles Daily News, 3/3).
Regional Medical Center of San Jose
On Thursday, officials held a ground-breaking ceremony to mark the start of construction on a new 160,000 square-foot tower for Regional Medical Center of San Jose, the San Jose Mercury News reports.
The four-story, 81-bed tower -- which is scheduled for completion in 2014 -- is part of the medical center's $300 million expansion and renovation effort. The project will include a new intensive care unit, an expanded emergency department, renovated operating rooms and a new breast care center (Drake, San Jose Mercury News, 3/3).
San Antonio Community Hospital, Upland
On Monday, Upland-based San Antonio Community Hospital officials broke ground on a $158 million, 179,000 square-foot expansion, the Contra Costa Times reports.
The project will expand the hospital's current emergency department to 58,000 square feet and 52 beds. It also will add a new 92-bed, four-story patient tower. Construction is expected toÂ be completeÂ in the fall of 2013 (Tasci, Contra Costa Times, 2/28).
St. Joseph Health System, Orange
St. Joseph Health System is preparing to launch a telehealth pilot project that would allow physicians and patients in different locations to meet via immersive video technology, Healthcare IT News reports.
The project aims to address the needs of patients who face financial, social and geographic barriers to care. Over the next several months, the health system will install seven interactive wellness stations at various locations in Southern California. The stations will allow health care providers to connect with patients in real time through AT&T's network, audio and video technologies (Monegain, Healthcare IT News, 2/28).
Temecula Regional Hospital
On Tuesday, Temecula City Council member Jeff Comerchero announced that Marc Miller -- president of Universal Health Services -- has confirmed UHS' plans to build Temecula's first hospital, the Riverside Press-Enterprise reports.
Miller's confirmation comes after the council voted on Feb. 8 to approve UHS' request to change its plans for the hospital. The developer now will build 140 beds in the first construction phase, instead of 170. If the foundations for the first phase of the building are not in place by next February, Universal will forfeit a $5 million performance bond and the project's construction permits will expire (Horseman, Riverside Press-Enterprise, 3/1).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.