California Hospital News Roundup for the Week of September 19, 2014
Nurses at Fallbrook Hospital, represented by the California Nurses Association, are protesting the hospital's recent decision to shut down the labor and delivery department, arguing that the closure endangers patients with difficult pregnancies, U-T San Diego reports.
The hospital closed the department on Sept. 3, citing financial difficulties linked to fewer deliveries at the hospital and a smaller staff. According to U-T San Diego, Community Health Systems -- which leases the hospital from Fallbrook Healthcare District -- said that it also plans to close the facility's emergency department and intensive care unit on Nov. 17 (Sisson, U-T San Diego, 9/15).
MemorialCare Health System, San Clemente
On Tuesday, San Clemente City Council members discussed how to ensure emergency medical services in the community will continue if MemorialCare Health System closes the 73-bed Saddleback Memorial Medical Center of San Clemente, the Orange County Register reports.
According to the Register, MemorialCare in August said it was conducting a feasibility study to convert the hospital into a 103,000-square-foot outpatient care facility.
Council members on Tuesday said they planned to consider options to keep the hospital's emergency department open, get feedback from public safety officials and learn more about the potential hospital conversion from hospital administrators (Swegles, Orange County Register, 9/17).
Mercy San Juan Medical Center
The Joint Commission certified Mercy San Juan Medical Center as a comprehensive stroke care facility, making it the only center in the Sacramento area to earn the distinction, the Sacramento Business Journal reports.
According to the Business Journal, all the hospitals in the Greater Sacramento Area are certified as primary stroke centers. However, Mercy San Juan Medical Center earned the comprehensive stroke center certification because of its vascular neurosurgery services, neuro-intensive care unit, clinical trial participation and use of neurointerventional radiology, the Business Journal reports (Robertson, Sacramento Business Journal, 9/15).
Sutter Maternity & Surgery Center, Santa Cruz
Sutter Health has begun construction on a $16.5 million addition and remodel of its Sutter Maternity & Surgery Center, marking the first time the facility will be expanded since it was completed in 1996, the Santa Cruz Sentinel reports.
The project, which is scheduled to be finished in October 2015, will include 10 private patient stations, two new operating rooms, a new procedure room and exterior changes to bring the building into compliance with Americans with Disabilities Act standards (Gumz, Santa Cruz Sentinel, 9/15).
Temple Community Hospital of Los Angeles
Last week, Temple Community Hospital of Los Angeles shut down, citing low revenue and increasing maintenance costs, the Los Angeles Times reports.
According to the Times, the hospital has been in operation since 1937 and employed a staff of more than 300 people. Hospital officials said the facility was closing because of lower reimbursement rates, changes in care delivery, increasing regulatory requirements and the costs of adapting the older facility to earthquake safety standards, among other reasons (Pfeifer, Los Angeles Times, 9/17).
UCLA Health System
UCLA Health System has launched a telemedicine initiative through LiveHealth Online, which allows patients to connect with physicians through cell phones, computers and tablets, Kaiser Health News/Washington Post reports.
According to KHN/Post, the virtual visits are covered under some Anthem Blue Cross health plans, including those purchased through Covered California, the state's health insurance exchange, and many employer-sponsored health plans. The visits cost about $49, which is about half the cost of an in-person visit (Gorman, Kaiser Health News/Washington Post, 9/16).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.