California Hospital News Roundup for Sept. 11, 2009
Officials at Alameda Hospital are asking state legislators to support legislation that would give the facility until 2020 to complete state-mandated seismic upgrades that are expected to cost around $10 million, the Contra Costa Times reports.
Deborah Stebbins, the hospital's CEO, said the hospital has until 2013 under California's current rules to make the upgrades to two of its buildings. However, the hospital needs more time to plan and finance the upgrades, Stebbins said, noting that the facility did not qualify under a previous bill passed to give other hospitals an extension on the deadline (Ellson, Contra Costa Times, 8/27).
Children's Hospital Central California, Fresno
A lawsuit filed by two doctors in federal district court in Fresno claims that Children's Hospital Central California is refusing to allow them to use its facilities because they participated in starting a rival neonatal intensive care unit at Fresno's Community Regional Medical Center, the Fresno Bee reports.
In the lawsuit, Krishnakumar Rajani and Stephen Elliott claim they have lost patients, contracts with other health care providers and a referral base to engage new patients because they are not allowed to use Children's Hospital, which opened in December 2008.
Children's Hospital denied the allegations in an e-mail statement and said that it expects "that ultimately these matters will be resolved in the hospital's favor" (Anderson, Fresno Bee, 9/1).
County Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, Los Angeles
On Tuesday, Los Angeles County officials awarded Hensel Phelps Construction a $170 million contract to replace County Harbor-UCLA Medical Center's surgery center and upgrade its emergency facilities, the Torrance Daily Breeze reports.
The renovations, which are scheduled to begin in November, will expand the hospital's emergency department to 75,000 square feet with 80 surgical bays, an increase from its current 25,000 square feet and 42 surgery bays. The renovations in the contract also include an increase from nine operating rooms to 16, and an option to construct a new three-story parking garage (Evans, Torrance Daily Breeze, 9/8).
Grossman Burn Center, Sherman Oaks
In early 2010, the Grossman Burn Center will move from Sherman Oaks Hospital to West Hills Hospital and Medical Center, burn center founder A. Richard Grossman said, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Grossman said the move was prompted partly by frustration over new ownership of the Sherman Oaks facility several years ago (Hsu, Los Angeles Times, 9/2).
On Wednesday, members of the Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West staged pickets at Kaiser Roseville Medical Center and Kaiser South Bay Medical Center near Long Beach, the Sacramento Business Journal reports.
The pickets are part of a larger protest of Kaiser's plans to eliminate 1,350 positions statewide because of drops in membership and revenue.
Additional pickets are planned at other Kaiser facilities in the Sacramento area in the coming weeks (Robertson, Sacramento Business Journal, 9/9).
Palomar Medical Center West, Escondido
Construction on the new Palomar Medical Center West -- the largest hospital project in California -- is expected to be finished by late 2011 as workers complete the massive steel framework for the facility, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.
The facility is expected to open in early 2012 (Lau, San Diego Union-Tribune, 8/29).
Sharp Memorial/Rady Children's Hospitals, San Diego
Hospital officials in August unveiled a $1.2 million "short-term" project to improve traffic flow in the area surrounding Sharp Memorial and Rady Children's hospitals after resident complained about traffic in the neighborhood, the Union-Tribune reports.
The plan includes adding more turn lanes, reconfiguring traffic and improving access for emergency vehicles.
The officials said that each facility would pay $300,000 -- about half the cost -- to implement the short-term plan, adding that they hope the owner of a nearby medical office building will pay the rest.
The officials also unveiled a multimillion-dollar long-term plan that includes widening streets and freeway ramps (Sanchez, San Diego Union-Tribune, 8/30).
San Ramon Regional Medical Center
Last week, San Ramon Medical Center announced it has won state regulatory approval for a $10.7 million ED and clinical laboratory expansion, the San Francisco Business Times reports.Â
Hospital officials hope to break ground by the end of the year and complete the project by late 2011 (Rauber, San Francisco Business Times, 8/28).
Stanford Hospitals & Clinics and Lucille Packard Children's Hospital, Palo Alto
Stanford Hospitals & Clinics and Lucille Packard Children's Hospital announced last week that they have reached a two-year contract with the United Healthcare Workers West union, which represents 1,450 housekeepers, food service workers, nursing assistants and technicians, the Business Times reports.
Health insurance options and retirement benefits are similar to those available for non-union staffers, a hospital spokesperson said (Rauber, San Francisco Business Times, 8/28).
Thirteen California legislators have signed a letter asking Attorney General Jerry Brown (D) to investigate Sutter Health for its management of not-for-profit facilities including Marin General Hospital, HealthLeaders Media reports.
The controversy centers on Sutter's transfer of funds from Marin General to Sutter over the past two years. Â Lawmakers estimate that the company has shifted $86.7 million from Marin General to Sutter in 2007 and 2008 (Clark, HealthLeaders Media, 9/9).
Sutter plans to let its lease to operate Marin General expire next summer (Rauber, San Francisco Business Times, 9/1).
Robert Heller -- chair of the Marin General Hospital Corp., the not-for-profit entity that oversees Marin General for Sutter -- defended the transfers and said they were part of Sutter's effort to bolster other hospitals in the system with funds from hospitals that are already doing well (Halstead, Marin Independent Journal, 9/3).Â
Tri-City Medical Center, Oceanside
The seven-member governing board of Tri-City Medical Center voted to pay members $100 for every board and committee meeting, the Union-Tribune reports.
The board also voted to approve an 18-month contract for CEO Larry Anderson. Anderson's salary will be $418,000 annually (Burge, San Diego Union-Tribune, 8/30).
ValleyCare Health System, Pleasanton
Last week, a patients' rights group filed a lawsuit against the not-for-profit ValleyCare Health System, arguing that ValleyCare's governance structure violates state law, the Contra Costa Times reports.
Health system officials say it is run by a foundation, as state law dictates, but the Patient-Physician Alliance insists ValleyCare does not meet the criteria laid out in the state's definition of a foundation (Rosynsky, Contra Costa Times, 9/2).Last week, an Alameda County Superior Court judge denied a request for a temporary restraining order from the Patient-Physician Alliance that would have forced ValleyCare to cease operations (Jordan, Contra Costa Times, 9/4). 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.