California Hospital News Roundup for the Week of May 9, 2008
Doctors Medical Center is closing its McHenry Surgery Center after 23 years because of low outpatient surgery volume, the Modesto Bee reports.
The caseload at the surgery center by next week will be transitioned to another Modesto Doctors Medical Center location, which is modifying operating rooms to handle the additional outpatient surgeries. The center has been handling about 150 cases per month in 2008, Carin Sarkis, a spokesperson for DMC, said.
Doctors Medical Center is looking to sublet the space, Sarkis added (Carlson, Modesto Bee, 5/7).
Last week, the Natividad Medical Center's board of trustees recommended that hospital administrators and the Monterey County Health Department coordinate operations as part of Natividad's long-term strategic plan, the Monterey County Herald reports.
Resistance from the hospital and the health department have "delayed the strategic plan's rollout by several months," according to the Herald.
The plan includes formation of a new Health Services Agency that would provide oversight and leadership for the hospital and health department as a "single point of accountability," Bill Foley, the hospital's interim chief administrator, said (Johnson, Monterey County Herald, 5/3).
Consulting firm Wellspring Management, which the county hired in 2006 to address the hospital's financial problems, created the plan (Withers, Salinas Californian, 5/3). The plan also includes initiatives to improve patient care, as well as develop and strengthen other clinical and specialized services (Monterey County Herald, 5/3).
The Health Services Agency is expected to take shape by 2010, according to Len Foster, Monterey County's director of health (Withers, Salinas Californian, 5/3).
On Tuesday, security officers at 23 Kaiser Permanente medical facilities began a three-day strike over what they allege are unfair labor practices by their employer, Inter-Con Security Services, the Stockton Record reports (Stockton Record, 5/7).
Service Employees International Union has been working to organize about 1,500 security guards at Kaiser facilities for three years. The union expected about 400 Inter-Con employees to picket at Kaiser locations this week (Ortiz, Sacramento Bee, 5/5).
Capital Public Radio's "KXJZ News" on Wednesday reported on the strike.
The segment includes comments from Faith Culbreath of SEIU (Milne, "KXJZ News," Capital Public Radio, 5/6).
San Mateo Medical Center's financial challenges could "grow more precarious" in light of expected state budget cuts this year, the San Francisco Examiner reports.
Dave Hook, hospital spokesperson, said about half of the center's funding comes from Medi-Cal.
San Mateo Medical Center faces a projected $5 million budget deficit, and the Examiner questions some of the facility's payment policies, including discounts for uninsured patients (Worth, San Francisco Examiner, 5/6).
Simi Valley Hospital has completed construction on its new tower and expects to open the facility for patient care in the coming weeks, pending a final state inspection, the Ventura County Star reports.
The new $75 million tower, which was under construction since Dec. 2002, includes:
- A new Level 2 neonatal intensive care unit that can provide care for eight infants;
- An expanded intensive care unit with 24 beds, up from 11 previously, which is expected to alleviate some pressure from the emergency department;
- Internet access for all patients and visitors; and
- Eight labor suites (Finch, Ventura County Star, 5/5).
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.