California Hospital News Roundup for the Week of October 29, 2010
Alta Bates Summit Medical Center, Oakland
On Monday, Alta Bates Summit Medical Center held a groundbreaking ceremony to start construction on an 11-story inpatient pavilion that will augment its existing hospital in Oakland, the San Francisco Business Times reports (Rauber, San Francisco Business Times, 10/21).
The planned $350 million pavilion will include 238 private acute-care patient rooms and a 21,000 square-foot, 30-bed emergency department. The patient tower, which is designed to meet California's seismic safety standards, is expected to open in 2014 (Woodall, Oakland Tribune, 10/25).
City of Hope National Medical Center, Duarte
On Oct. 22, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Mary Strobel refused to block a central part of a controversial plan to reorganize City of Hope National Medical Center, the Los Angeles Times'Â "L.A. Now" reports.
City of Hope Medical Group, which represents many City of Hope doctors, had filed a lawsuit against the hospital over allegations that the restructuring plan would violate state laws that generally prohibit hospitals from hiring physicians directly.
In her ruling, Strobel said there was insufficient evidence to issue a preliminary injunction against the medical center. City of Hope contends that its restructuring plans are both legal and necessary (McDonnell, "L.A. Now," Los Angeles Times, 10/25).
Kaiser Permanente Medical Center, Milpitas
On Tuesday, Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Milpitas announced that it temporarily has closed its main building, the Milpitas Post reports.
Kaiser officials said they closed the building after identifying a structural issue during a routine inspection. Until the building reopens, the health system has moved clinical services to three other Kaiser Permanente buildings on the Milpitas campus (Milpitas Post, 10/26).
Mercy Cancer Center, Merced
On Monday, Mercy Cancer Center broke ground on its multimillion-dollar expansion project, six weeks behind schedule, the Merced Sun-Star reports.
June Brown, director of the center, said contractor and bidding issues delayed the groundbreaking. When the more than 2,000 square-foot expansion project is complete, Mercy Cancer Center will be one of four facilities in the state to have the newest linear accelerators, which are used for cancer treatment (Amaro, Merced Sun-Star, 10/22).
Salinas Valley Memorial Healthcare System
More than 40 employees of the Salinas Valley Memorial Healthcare System picketed last week after the hospital started offering buyouts to hundreds of union-represented employees, the Salinas Californian reports. Union members say the buyouts could contribute to staffing shortages and affect care quality.
Last week, Salinas Valley officials said they had sent more than 900 buyout letters to affected union employees. The health care system plans to accept 165 buyouts as part of its efforts to reduce spending (Vijayan, Salinas Californian, 10/22).
Sutter Auburn Faith Hospital
On Wednesday, Sutter Auburn Faith Hospital unveiled its new solar power system, the Sacramento Bee reports. The system will be owned by SunEdison Solar Electricity, which plans to sell power to the hospital at reduced rates.
The solar power system is expected to provide about one-third of the electricity needed to power the 87-bed hospital, which could reduce hospital energy costs by about $2.5 million over the next 25 years (Daysog, Sacramento Bee, 10/28).
UC-San Francisco Medical Center
On Tuesday, UC-San Francisco Medical Center broke ground on its $1.5 billion, 289-bed hospital for women, children and cancer patients, the San Francisco Business Times reports.
The project has received $375 million through philanthropic donations. The 878,000 square-foot medical complex is expected to be completed in 2014 (San Francisco Business Times, 10/26).
Watsonville Community Hospital
After nurses at Watsonville Community Hospital held a one-day strike on Tuesday, hospital officials announced that the nurses would be unable to return to work until Friday morning, the Santa Cruz Sentinel reports.
Nurses held the strike to protest low staffing levels that they said jeopardize patient care. In press releases issued Monday and Tuesday, Watsonville Community Hospital said the nurses were expected to strike until Friday, when the hospital's contract with temporary staff ends.
Lisa Harlow, representative of the California Nurses Association, said the nurses were clear about their intentions to strike for 24 hours (Jones, Santa Cruz Sentinel, 10/27).
Yosemite Medical Clinic
Beginning Jan. 1, the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps will take over Yosemite Medical Clinic, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
The announcement eased fears that the medical clinic would close (Fimrite, San Francisco Chronicle, 10/25). Doctors Medical Center in Modesto, which has operated the clinic for 15 years, isÂ terminating service at the end of this year (Jimenez, Fresno Bee, 10/22). Yosemite Medical Clinic now is expected to continue providing outpatient services 24 hours per day (San Francisco Chronicle, 10/25).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.