California Hospital News Roundup for the Week of October 21, 2011
Alameda Hospital officials are seeking to enter into a 20-year lease of the 120-bed Waters Edge skilled nursing facility, the Alameda Times-Star reports.
According to hospital managers, the lease would bring in $1.7 million to $2.6 million in annual revenue and double the number of patients the hospital treats each day.
The hospital has been working to make up $10 million in annual revenue it lost when Kaiser Permanente decided not to renew a contract to use its operating rooms last year.
The Alameda Health Care District Board voted 3-1 on Monday to move forward with the plan. Hospital officials are aiming to receive final approval of the plan in November. The lease would begin in January 2012 (Ellson, Alameda Times-Star, 10/13).
El Camino Hospital, Mountain View
A group of El Camino Hospital employees is aiming to place an initiative on the November 2012 ballot that would cap the salary of the nine hospital executives who receive the highest salaries, the Palo Alto Daily News reports.
Kary Lynch, a licensed psychiatric technician at the hospital, made the announcement last week during a hospital board of directors meeting.
According to the coalition of workers, the nine hospital executives with the highest salaries receive more than $200,000 annually without bonuses.
Some of the workers belong to the Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West. Lynch said the hospital workers are awaiting a decision from the hospital on a new contract for union workers.
Judy Twitchell, a hospital spokesperson, said the hospital has not taken a position on the ballot initiative announcement, which would be part of a special election involving only residents of the hospital district (Marschall, Palo Alto Daily News, 10/14).
Financial terms of the partnership were not revealed (Sibley, Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal, 10/13).
At 21 of its Northern California hospitals, Kaiser Permanente has more than tripled its diagnosis of patients with the blood infection sepsis, an increase that could reduce deaths from the disease, Payers & Providers reports.
Kaiser hospitals began using new systems in 2008 that included the use of treatment algorithms, standardizing best practices, and standardizing order sets and flow charts. The hospitals also tapped mentors to help train staff about early diagnosis.
The number of sepsis diagnoses increased from 35.7 per 1,000 admissions in July 2009 to 119.4 per 1,000 admissions in May 2010. Patients who showed improvement in lab tests within six hours of starting treatment rose from 52% in 2009 to 92% earlier this year (Payers & Providers, 10/20).
Kaiser Permanente-San Diego
Kaiser Permanente-San Diego is considering purchasing San Diego County operations property to build a new 350-bed hospital, if it decides not to purchase the Alliant University campus, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.
Rodger Dougherty, a Kaiser spokesperson, said that Kaiser is evaluating both sites and that a decision is expected by year's end.
The health system is searching for a location to build a new facility that, beginning in 2030, would serve as the replacement of its 392-bed hospital in Grantville. The older facility will not be in compliance with state seismic safety standards by 2030 (Lavelle, San Diego Union-Tribune, 10/18).
Lucile Packard Children's Hospital, Palo Alto
Lucile Packard Children's Hospital and Hewlett-Packard have created a new real-time patient monitoring system that has proved to be effective in a trial period, the San Francisco Business Times reports.
The system -- called the Patient-Centered Dashboard -- uses data from electronic health records and is meant to replace handwritten whiteboards in nursing units (San Francisco Business Times, 10/18).
Rady Children's Hospital, San Diego
Rady Children's Hospital is about $12 million short of its five-year, $220 million fundraising goal, and hospital officials have announced a final phase of the fundraising campaign that will end in December 2012, the Union-Tribune reports.
Much of what has been donated to the hospital thus far has been given toward construction of a new pavilion or toward programs that provide comfort to young patients and their families.
Funds still are needed for research and technology. The hospital is seeking a $400,000 neurosurgery microscope and a $150,000 heart-lung machine for a pediatric heart transplantation program (Lavelle, San Diego Union-Tribune, 10/19).
San Dimas Community Hospital
On Monday, San Dimas Community Hospital nurses and other community members rallied against Prime Healthcare Services -- which owns the hospital -- to protest pay rates, hours and work conditions, the Contra Costa Times reports.
The protesters also criticized Prime Healthcare for bringing in non-contract staff members for current and future projects.
Edward Barrera -- communications director for Prime Healthcare -- defended the hospital and Prime Healthcare, adding, "San Dimas Community Hospital is an award-winning facility that was nationally recognized as a 'top performer' by the Joint Commission, a Medicare accreditation agency."
He also said that Prime was one of the top 10 health systems in the U.S. (Consalvo, Contra Costa Times, 10/17).
San Joaquin General Hospital, French Camp
On Tuesday, San Joaquin County's Board of Supervisors voted to spend $1 million for architectural planning to replace sections of San Joaquin General Hospital that do not meet seismic safety standards, the Stockton Record reports.
Officials estimate it will cost $39 million to replace the hospital's older tower that was constructed in 1932 with a new, 41,500 square-foot replacement.
Supervisor Leroy Ornellas has raised concerns about spending $1 million for architectural planning because the board has not yet given overall approval for the construction project.
Hospital officials have said the county must demonstrate progress toward replacing the old facility by 2020 or be forced to cease operations in that building (Johnson, Stockton Record, 10/19).
Vacaville Medical Center
Kaiser Permanente's Vacaville Medical Center has begun providing Level III trauma services, the Sacramento Business Journal reports.
Last month, the hospital received designation as a trauma center from Solano County emergency service officials.
Vacaville is the second hospital to offer trauma services in the county after NorthBay Medical Center in Fairfield received the designation last month (Sacramento Business Journal, 10/17).
Ventura County Medical Center
Ventura County officials have announced that a newly opened mental health crisis center must be torn down to accommodate an upgrade to Ventura County Medical Center, the Ventura County Star reports.
Last year, county supervisors authorized the conversion of a facility on the hospital campus into a crisis center for patients with mental health conditions. The center opened about six weeks ago.
In January, supervisors authorized the construction of a $250 million hospital wing to comply with state seismic safety requirements. County Health Care Agency officials determined the hospital cannot be upgraded around the new crisis center.
Officials are proposing to keep openÂ the 15-bed crisis centerÂ until a new one can beÂ completed on the hospital campus within 12 to 16 months. They added that a new center would have to be relicensed (Wilson, Ventura County Star, 10/18).
Washington Hospital, Fremont
California Department of Public Health officials have cited Washington Hospital for violations stemming from a May 2010 stillborn birth, the Oakland Tribune reports.
Officials cited the hospital for submitting false data to the state and then disciplining four nurses without documented verification of poor care delivery.
State investigators previously had cited the hospital for errors that they said could have contributed to "the delayed detection of fetal distress."
After Washington filed a plan of correction, a follow-up investigation found that the hospital did not start its promised competency tests for nurses until November 2010, which was five months after the tests were supposed to have been completed.
The hospital will be required to submit a new corrective plan to demonstrate that it has implemented the competency tests in a timely manner.
The hospital can appeal the citations (Artz, Oakland Tribune, 10/20).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.