California Hospital News Roundup for the Week of September 18, 2009
Dominican Hospital, Santa Cruz
Citing inadequate government reimbursement rates, Dominican Hospital is proposing to close its 26-year-old psychiatric unit, the Santa Cruz Sentinel reports.
The hospital operates the unit under a county contract for mental health services.
The proposal to close the unit calls for the county to build its own 16-bed psychiatric unit. The hospital would contribute $5 million toward the projected $8 million cost of building the new unit (Alexander, Santa Cruz Sentinel, 9/12).
Downey Regional Medical Center
On Monday, Downey Regional Medical Center filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection after posting net losses in recent years of more than $100 million, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Hospital officials attributed the losses to unfavorable HMO contracts and tight credit markets.
The 199-bed, private, not-for-profit hospital is expected to emerge from bankruptcy within a year.Â All of its services will remain open (Girion, Los Angeles Times, 9/15).
Kaiser Permanente Downey Medical Center
Kaiser Permanente has opened a $390 million, 352-bed hospital in Downey, located in southeastern Los Angeles County, the San Francisco Business Times reports.
The new facility will replace Kaiser's nearby Bellflower Medical Center, which opened in 1965 (Rauber, San Francisco Business Times, 9/15).
Kingsburg District Hospital
The Kingsburg District Hospital board voted Wednesday against selling the hospital and will instead form a partnership with Tulare Regional Medical Center, the Fresno Bee reports.
The decision ensures the hospital and its property will remain under control of Kingsburg residents.
Under the deal, Tulare Regional Medical Center would lend money to the Kingsburg hospital district to pay its bills and would then set up a payment plan while operating the hospital (Lopez, Fresno Bee, 9/16).
Martin Luther King Jr. Hospital, Watts
On Thursday, a delegation of political, business and labor leaders from Los Angeles County asked the UC Board of Regents to partner with the county to reopen Martin Luther King Jr. Hospital by 2012, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Inpatient services at the hospital were closed two years ago after it failed a series of federal inspections (Gordon, Los Angeles Times, 9/18).
Regents are scheduled to vote on a proposal to help reopen the hospital at the board's November meeting in Los Angeles (Small, "KPCC News," KPCC, 9/17).
Shasta Regional Medical Center, Redding
Southern California law firm DiCaro, Coppo & Popcke has filed a lawsuit against Prime Healthcare Services, the new owners of Shasta Regional Medical Center, seeking money owed by the hospital's prior owner, the Record Searchlight reports.
The suit alleges that an attorney represented the hospital for a two-week doctor's peer review hearing and that the firm was never paid $33,224 for the service. Prime Healthcare argues it has no responsibility for debts accumulated by previous owner Hospital Partners of America, which declared bankruptcy (Sabalow, Record Searchlight, 8/28).
UC-Irvine Medical Center
On Thursday, UC-Irvine Medical Center released a CMS report indicating that incorrect dosages of medications had been givenÂ to five patients because nurses had not received proper training for using pain pumps, the Orange County Register reports (Perkes, Orange County Register, 9/17).
No patients died or experienced serious injuries because of the overdoses.
The hospital has submitted a plan of correction (Yoshino, Los Angeles Times, 9/18).
CMS spokesperson Jack Cheevers said the agency is waiting to receive the report from the state and inspectors will conduct a surprise inspection to ensure that the problems have been addressed (Orange County Register, 9/17).
Washington Hospital, Fremont
Washington Hospital's board will vote Oct. 14 whether to approve a union contract that includes a 12% raise over three years for about 450 hospital employees who work as housekeepers, cooks, janitors and other staff positions, the Oakland Tribune reports.
Members of the Service Employees International Union ratified the deal last week. The proposed raises come at a time when the hospital's revenue increased to $334.4 million last year, a 22% increase since 2006 (Artz, Oakland Tribune, 9/11).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.