California Hospital News Roundup for the Week of October 28, 2011
Hoag Hospital, Newport Beach
Hoag Hospital now is offering 3-D mammography screenings for women who have dense breast tissue, which can mask cancerous tumors, the Orange County Register reports.
The hospital is one of 11 U.S. sites to test 3-D mammography technology. The 3-D technology costs about $450,000, while regular mammogram devices cost about $250,000 (Perkes, Orange County Register, 10/18).
Kaiser Permanente, Ontario
Kaiser Permanente plans to open its new $550 million hospital in Ontario on Nov. 1, the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin reports.
About 3,000 people toured the 386,000 square-foot facility during the hospital's Community Day on Oct. 22. The hospital, which has 224 beds, will feature a fully integratedÂ information technologyÂ system throughout its medical campus (Marquez, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, 10/22).
Los Robles Hospital & Medical Since Center, Thousand Oaks; Ventura County Medical Center
July 2010, about 2,300 patients have received treatment through Ventura County's new trauma system, the Ventura County Star reports.
The system, which was implemented about a year ago, routes patients with critical injuries to Los Robles Hospital & Medical Center and Ventura County Medical Center. So far, the two hospitals have reported mortality rates that are lower than average rates for hospitals offering similar levels of trauma care.
VCMC reported a mortality rate of 2.72%, lower than the 3.03% national average mortality rate for hospitals with up to 200 beds. Los Robles reported a mortality rate of 1.21%, lower than the 3.04% national average mortality rate for hospitals with up to 400 beds (Wilson, Ventura County Star, 10/22).
Lucile Packard Children's Hospital and Stanford Hospital & Clinics, Palo Alto
Lucile Packard Children's Hospital recently announced that it has reached a network agreement with Blue Shield of California after going nearly two months without a contract, Payers & Providers reports (Payers & Providers, 10/26).
The new agreement, which started on Oct. 20, will last for two years. Meanwhile, Lucile Packard and Stanford Hospital & Clinics are continuing to work with Anthem Blue Cross on a new health insurance provider agreement (Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal, 10/26).
Mt. Diablo Health Care District, Concord
Mt. Diablo Health Care District has retained an attorney, awarded tens of thousands of dollars in grants and voted to hire its first general manager as part of an effort to avoid dissolution, the Contra Costa Times reports.
The district formed in 1948 to manage construction for the former Mt. Diablo Medical Center in Concord. The hospital later merged with the John Muir Health system and the district relinquished much of its power.
This year, the Contra Costa Local Agency Formation Commission agreed to study the possible dissolution of the district. LAFCO will evaluate whether the district has sufficient resources to fulfill its mission. The commission has hired a consultant and expects to receive a report on the issue in January 2012 (Vorderbrueggen, Contra Costa Times, 10/24).
Prime Healthcare Services
Prime Healthcare Services has responded to a recent California Watch report that found the health system bills for certain rare medical conditions at rates far higher than other hospitals, Payers & Providers reports.
According to the investigation, the conditions diagnosed more often at Prime Healthcare facilities than at other hospitals are autonomic nerve disorders, encephalopathy and malignant hypertension.
According to Prime Healthcare, the California Watch report "misinterpreted" data and had "little substance or accuracy." The health system added that the report "ignores that when patients are accurately diagnosed, they have shorter hospital stays and fewer repeat admissions."
The health system said it has not been singled out for wrongdoing by agencies contracted to perform Medicare audits (Payers & Providers, 10/20).
Seton Medical Center, Daly City
Seton Medical Center has filed a lawsuit in San Mateo County Superior Court to fight a state citation and a $20,000 fine related to a patient's allegations of physical and sexual abuse, the San Jose Mercury News reports.
The hospital contends that the state lacked sufficient evidence to cite the hospital for failing to protect the patient from the abuse. According to the suit, the state denied the hospital due process after imposing the citation in 2007.
Ralph Montano, a spokesperson for the state Department of Public Health, declined to comment on the lawsuit (Gonzales, San Jose Mercury News, 10/21).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.