California Hospital News Roundup for the Week of March 9, 2012
Atascadero State Hospital; Patton State Hospital, San Bernardino
The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health recently cited two state psychiatric hospitals for failing to protect staff from patient assaults, as well as other issues, the AP/San Francisco Chronicle reports (AP/San Francisco Chronicle, 3/2).
Cal-OSHA fined Patton State Hospital $57,400 and Atascadero State Hospital $38,555.
The agencyÂ alleged that Patton's inadequate injury and illness prevention plans contributed to about 20 patient-caused staff injuries each month between January 2006 and September 2011 (Romney, "L.A. Now," Los Angeles Times, 3/2).
Cal-OSHAÂ also alleged that Atascadero had an average of eight patient-caused staff injuries each month between January 2007 and October 2011 (Strickland, San Luis Obispo Tribune, 3/1).
Downey Regional Medical Center
Downey Regional Medical Center officials recently announced that the hospital has completed Chapter 11 reorganization proceedings, Modern Healthcare reports.
According to a Downey release, a court approved the hospital's Chapter 11 plan in mid-February.
Since filing for bankruptcy in 2009, the hospital has paid down $17 million to creditors and will continue to pay off creditors, according to the release (Evans, Modern Healthcare, 3/7). The release also stated that the hospital has issued $32 million in taxable bonds and entered intoÂ a $20Â accounts-receivable facility with MidCap Financial (Downey release, 3/7).
Kern Medical Center, Bakersfield
On Monday, officials at Kern Medical Center announced that a recent data breach might have exposed the personal data of more than 1,400 patients, the Bakersfield Californian reports.
Officials said the breach occurred on Feb. 25, when printed copies of electronic health records were stolen from the car of a physician. The printed records included patients' names and treatment dates, but did not include Social Security numbers, officials said.
Kern Medical Center CEO Paul Hensler said that the data breach has been reported to state and federal oversight agencies and that the hospital is notifying affected patients (Mayer, Bakersfield Californian, 3/5).
Loma Linda University Medical Center-Murrieta
The California Department of Public Health has approved Loma Linda University Medical Center-Murrieta's plan to expand its heart surgery offerings, the Riverside Press-Enterprise reports.
Kathryn Stiles -- a spokesperson for the hospital -- said that the hospital previously was allowed to provide heart operations onlyÂ in emergency situations. Approval from CDPH allows the hospital to gradually offer more heart procedures (Hill, Riverside Press-Enterprise, 3/1).
San Joaquin General Hospital, French Camp
San Joaquin General Hospital is working to establish a not-for-profit independent foundation that would handle fundraising for the facility and boost community awareness of its services, the Modesto Bee reports.
David Culberson -- the hospital's CEO -- said that 12 of California's 19 public hospitals are assisted by their own not-for-profit foundations and that the other facilities are working on establishingÂ such organizations.
He said the foundation would provide a philanthropic fundraising structure, educate the community about the critical role San Joaquin plays in residents' care and help overcome public misconceptions about the hospital and its clinics (Goldeen, Modesto Bee, 3/5).
Scripps Mercy Hospital, Chula Vista and San Diego
Scripps Mercy Hospital recently fired four case managers after state investigators found that the employees had violated state and federal laws by accepting gifts from a nursing home owner, U-T San Diego reports.
The employees had directed patients to specific nursing homes rather than providing them with several choices when they left the hospital.
The California Department of Public Health recently approved Scripps Mercy's Plan of Correction to address the issue. To avoid similar problems in the future, Scripps officials said the hospital has:
- Reorganized its case management leadership;
- Strengthened auditing and conflict-of-interest procedures; and
- Organized employee training classes (Lavelle, U-T San Diego, 3/6).
St. Joseph's Medical Center, Stockton
St. Joseph's Medical Center has been designated as a Baby-Friendly Hospital after meeting standards established by the United Nations Children's Fund and the World Health Organization, the Stockton Record reports.
Evaluators assessed the hospital's maternity department and interviewed physicians, nurses and patients about efforts to educate mothers about the benefits of breast-feeding, according to Mary Woelfel, coordinator for San Joaquin County's Public Health Breastfeeding Initiative.
St. Joseph's is the first Baby-Friendly facility in San Joaquin County and the 48th in California (Stockton Record, 3/2).
St. Rose Hospital, Haywood
The Washington Township Healthcare District has approved a plan that would commit up to $2 million to establish a joint-powers authority with Alameda County to preserve St. Rose Hospital, the Oakland Tribune reports.
The hospital is losing about $1 million each month and seeking strategies to stay open.
The joint-powers authority would oversee and manage St. Rose while ensuring that interim funding allows the facility to remain open. The initiative also would require a due-diligence review of the hospital (Dennis, Oakland Tribune, 3/1).
In addition, the Eden Township Healthcare District board of directors recentlyÂ agreed to support Washington Township's plan for the joint-powers authority (Dennis, Oakland Tribune, 3/7).
Washington Township Healthcare District CEO Nancy Farber said, "The closing of St. Rose would create an extraordinary public health crisis, jeopardizing the health, safety and welfare of residents of both northern and southern Alameda County" (Dennis, Oakland Tribune, 3/1).
Ventura County Medical Center
Officials at Ventura County Medical Center recently celebrated the opening of the hospital's pediatric intensive care unit, the Ventura County Star reports.
The new Harriet Samuelsson Pediatric Intensive Care Unit has six patient beds and is located on the third floor of the facility (Gregory, Ventura County Star, 3/2).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.