California Hospital News Roundup for the Week of November 18, 2011
Doctors Medical Center, San Pablo
On Tuesday, West Contra Costa County voters passed Measure J, a $47 yearly parcel tax that will raise $5.1 million for Doctors Medical Center in San Pablo, the Contra Costa Times reports.
The financially struggling hospital currently operates with an $18 million annual deficit (Kleffman, Contra Costa Times, 11/16). Officials say the hospital likely would have been forced to close had the measure not passed, leaving the region with no full-service ED. The measure required a two-thirds majority to pass; it received about 74% of the vote (Jones, San Francisco Chronicle, 11/16).
Dominican Hospital, Santa Cruz
Santa Cruz Emergency Physicians -- the medical group that staffs Dominican Hospital's emergency department -- is joining the larger medical group CEP America, the Santa Cruz Sentinel reports.
CEP, which is based in Emeryville, covers 1,700 U.S. health care providers, including 1,000 in California. Dominican Hospital now is the 13th member of Catholic Healthcare West to form a relationship with CEP America (Gumz, Santa Cruz Sentinel, 11/11).
Garfield Medical Center, Monterey Park
The lawsuit alleged that the hospital created an atmosphere that allowed an emergency department worker to sexually harass at least 10 female employees (AP/San Francisco Chronicle, 11/16).Â According to the lawsuit, the hospital did not fire the ED worker until two years after affected employees notified officials of the harassment (Selvam, Modern Healthcare, 11/17). As part of the settlement, the hospital set aside an additional $100,000 for harassed employees who have not yet come forward.
The hospital has admitted no wrongdoing (AP/San Francisco Chronicle, 11/16). Garfield officials released a statement saying they "disagree with the EEOC's characterization of events." The officials added that they agreed to the settlement to "avoid expensive and protracted litigation and are pleased to have this matter concluded" (Modern Healthcare, 11/17).
Huntington Hospital, Pasadena
Huntington Hospital is more than halfway done with an emergency department expansion project, the Los Angeles Times reports.
The $80 million project will add 22,000 square feet to the hospital and increase the number of ED beds from 21 to 50. The new ED facilities will be part of a planned 86,000 square-foot, four-story addition to the main hospital building.
Asbasia Mikhail -- chair of the emergency medical section at Huntington -- said the hospital plans to partially open the new ED facilities with about 30 beds in March 2012. The ED expansion project is expected to be complete in 2013 (Kelly, Los Angeles Times, 11/13).
Marin General Hospital, Greenbrae
The Marin Healthcare District board has approved Marin General Hospital's plan to buy the assets of the medical clinic Cardiovascular Associates of Marin and San Francisco, the Marin Independent Journal reports.
The board also agreed to let the hospital contract with physicians at Cardiovascular Associates to jointly manage the clinic. The deal marks Marin General's seventh acquisition of a clinic since it ended its management deal with Sutter Health and returned to public control in 2010.
The latest acquisition nearly will double the number of physicians working in clinics run by Marin General (Halstead, Marin Independent Journal, 11/14).
Prime Healthcare Services, Ontario
Ontario-based Prime Healthcare Services has replaced MidCap Financial as the lender for the bankrupt Hawaii Medical Center, theÂ Pacific Business News reports (Pacific Business News, 11/14).
HMC's two hospitals -- Hawaii Medical Center East in Honolulu and Hawaii Medical Center West in Ewa Beach -- filed for bankruptcy in June (Galloro, Modern Healthcare, 11/15).
Mark Bradshaw, a lawyer representing Prime, said the loan purchase deal will allow HMC "to avoid the threat of imminent closure and to conduct an orderly sale of its assets." Bradshaw added that Prime is working on a purchase agreement to take over HMC's operations (Pacific Business News, 11/15).
Maria Kostylo, CEO and chief clinical officer of HMC, said that the medical center still is in discussions with "several potential buyers" (Pacific Business News, 11/14).
UC-Davis Children's Hospital, Sacramento
On Thursday, UC-Davis Medical Center opened a new, $22 million pediatric intensive care unit that is nearly twice as large asÂ its previous unit, the Sacramento Business Journal reports.
The new facility -- which is located on the campus of UC-Davis Children's Hospital -- will increase the number of pediatric ICU beds from 16 to 24. The new unit also has larger, single-patient rooms with a sleeping sofa for families (Robertson, Sacramento Business Journal, 11/16).
Ventura County Medical Center
Officials from CMS and the state Department of Public Health are requiring Ventura County Medical Center to make several changes after inspectors issued citations against the hospital, the Ventura County Star reports.
The citations range from patient care deficiencies to problems with record-keeping, cleanliness and governance. In late September, state and federal officials said VCMC and its affiliated Santa Paula Hospital no longer would qualify for Medicare and Medi-Cal reimbursements unless they fixed the problems. Medi-Cal is California's Medicaid program.
County health care managers said they already have made the necessary changes to address the issues (Wilson, Ventura County Star, 11/12).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.