California Hospital News Roundup for the Week of September 16, 2011
Community Memorial Hospital, Ventura
On Wednesday, officials broke ground on Community Memorial Hospital's new six-story, $268 million facility in Ventura, the Ventura County Star reports.
Officials said the construction project, which is being financed by tax-exempt bonds, aims to ensure that Community Memorial Hospital meets state seismic safety standards.
The new hospital will be located behind Community Memorial Hospital's existing facility. Ventura Mayor Bill Fulton (D)Â said the older facility could be used for biotechnology labs and other research services when the new hospital opens in 2015 (Kisken, Ventura County Star, 9/14).
Doctors Medical Center, San Pablo
Doctors Medical Center in San Pablo continues to face financial difficulty, even though it recently received a $4.2 million emergency donation from Kaiser Permanente, the San Francisco Business Times reports.
Dawn Gideon, interim CEO at Doctors, said the hospital would have run out of funds by the end of October if Kaiser had not provided the donation (Rauber, San Francisco Business Times, 9/9). Despite the cash infusion, Doctors is considering borrowing as much as $20 million this fall to help meet its obligations through the end of next year.
Meanwhile, a bill (SB 644) by Sen. Loni Hancock (D-Berkeley) aims to make it less risky for investors to loan the hospital money. The measure would offer investors a lien against Doctors' parcel tax revenue to guarantee that a judge could not change loan terms if the hospital files for bankruptcy.
Hancock's measure received unanimous support in both houses of the Legislature and now is before Gov. Jerry Brown (D) (Kleffman, Contra Costa Times, 9/8).
Los Medanos Community Healthcare District, Pittsburg
Los Medanos Community Healthcare District is trying toÂ get outÂ ofÂ an agreement that has allowed the county to rent the Los Medanos Hospital building for significantly less than its market value, the Contra Costa Times reports.
The deal allowed the county to run a health clinic in the facility for $100,000 annually. To end the deal, the district will need $1.5 million to pay off a 13-year-old agreement with the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development.
If the district buys out of the agreement, it will continue paying the $100,000 annual rent to the state until the lease term ends in 2018. After that point, the district will be able to collect rent from the county or another tenant (Radin, Contra Costa Times, 9/13).
Oroville Hospital is positioned to become the first hospital in the U.S. to implement WorldVistA EHR 2.0, a nonproprietary electronic health record system, the Chico News & Review reports.
The open-source WorldVistA system was adapted from the Department of Veterans Affairs' Veterans Health Information Systems and Technology Architecture EHR system, known as VistA.
Robert Wentz, CEO of Oroville Hospital, said the hospital sought open-source EHR software because proprietary EHR systems are costly and difficult to adapt to a user's needs (LaPado, Chico News & Review, 9/1).
Scripps Mercy Hospital, Chula Vista
State officials plan to inspect Scripps Mercy Hospital's power capabilities after the hospital's only generator failed during a recent blackout, leaving the facility without power for 90 minutes, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.
Anne Drumm -- spokesperson for the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development -- said state law requires hospitals to have generators that could power the facility for 24 hours. She also said the generators must start working within 10 seconds after an outage. According to Drumm, Scripps Mercy's incident did not meet those regulations.
George Perez, associate vice president of operations at Scripps Mercy, said he welcomes the visit from state regulators. He added that a Scripps Health team will evaluate the incident and that the hospital will determine how to best address the problem (Lavelle, San Diego Union-Tribune, 9/9).
St. Rose Hospital, Hayward
The Alameda County Board of Supervisors has hired a financial consultant to analyze the financial challenges facing St. Rose Hospital, the Contra Costa Times reports.
Earlier this summer, St. Rose CEO Michael Mahoney told county officials that the hospital faced severe cash flow problems. Cal-Mortgage -- the state agency that had insured bonds for St. Rose -- agreed to provide the hospital with a $3 million line of credit if the county hired a consultant to help the hospital address its debt obligations.
This week, county supervisors unanimously approved a 22-month, $175,000 contract with HFS Consultants. The contract calls for HFS Consultants to conduct an independent assessment of the hospital's accounting processes and debt restructuring (Metinko, Contra Costa Times, 9/15).
UCLA Santa Monica Medical Center
UCLA Santa Monica Medical Center recently held a dedication ceremony for its $572 million replacement campus, which is expected to open to patients early next year, Payers & Providers reports.
The 266-bed facility will have an inpatient pediatrics unit and an orthopedics department that will be affiliated with the Orthopaedic Hospital Institute (Payers & Providers, 9/8). Officials said the new campus will meet state seismic safety standards and be able to withstand an 8.4 magnitude earthquake (Los Angeles Business, 9/12).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.