California Hospital News Roundup for the Week of November 7, 2014
Alameda Health System, Oakland
On Tuesday, Alameda County Board of Supervisors awarded consulting firm Toyon Associates a three-month, $75,000 contract to help Alameda Health System create a plan for negotiating long-term debt repayment to the county, the Contra Costa Times reports.
According to the Times, Alameda Health System has accrued about $162 million in debt, partially because of delayed federal reimbursements and the addition of two of its medical centers to the county's safety-net system. Last week, county officials capped the health system's line of credit at $195 million in a temporary agreement that will expire at the end of the year (O'Brien, Contra Costa Times, 11/4).
Daughters of Charity Health System
Santa Clara County Executive Jeff Smith expressed concern that uninsured patients in the county will overcrowd Santa Clara Valley Medical Center if Daughters of Charity Health System finalizes the sale of seven hospitals to Prime Healthcare Services, the San Jose Mercury News reports.
Specifically, Smith said uninsured patients in San Jose and South Counties would overburden the medical center if DCHS' two hospitals in the area -- O'Connor and St. Louise -- are sold. He said county officials plan to discuss their concerns with the state attorney general, who has not yet approved the sale (Ballester, San Jose Mercury News, 10/30).
Dignity Health System
On Oct. 30, Dignity Health System agreed to pay $37 million to settle claims that it overbilled Medicare and a military health care program for five years, the Sacramento Business Journal reports.
The lawsuit alleged that 12 of the health system's hospitals filed bills for inpatient care between 2006 and 2010 that should have been submitted as outpatient care. As part of the settlement, Dignity Health is required to hire an independent review organization to examine the accuracy of its billing claims for the next five years (Robertson, Sacramento Business Journal, 10/31).
UC-San Francisco Medical Center
The UC-San Francisco Medical Center is working with Syapse, a company that stores genomics data in hospital IT systems, to develop a database of genetic and medical information collected from cancer patients to advance genomic medicine, Reuters/Yahoo! News reports.
According to UCSF officials, the database will be available for physicians and experts to analyze during routine care. According to Reuters/Yahoo! News, the hospital aims to collect test results from about 2,000 patients annually (Farr, Reuters/Yahoo! News, 11/5).
VA Medical Center, Fresno
On Friday, the Veterans Affairs Central California Health Care System opened a new center for mental health, the Fresno Bee reports.
The new Mental Health Center is located at the VA Medical Center in Fresno (Pearl, Fresno Bee, 11/1).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.