California Hospital News Roundup for the Week of September 25, 2009
Community Hospital, Monterey County
On Sept. 17, Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula closed a 20-bed hospital wing as part of a cost-cutting plan, the Monterey County Herald reports.
In addition, hospital officials expect to cut an undetermined number of employees over the next few months as part of the plan.
Hospital spokesperson Mary Barker said that early next year officials plan to begin a two-year effort aimed at reducing the annual budget of $440 million by 8%, or $36 million, through voluntary retirements, voluntary layoffs and, as a last resort, standard layoffsÂ (Parsons, Monterey County Herald, 9/18).
Mercy Medical Center, Merced
Mercy Medical Center in Merced is the country's first hospital to implement a Hmong shaman policy, which recognizes the cultural role traditional spiritual healers play in modern medical treatments, the New York Times reports.
The policy is designed to strengthen the trust between physicians and the Hmong community, many of whom are refugees from northern Laos and believe that people become ill when their souls are missing.
The policy and training program at Mercy coincide with a larger national movement to take patients' cultural beliefs into account when deciding their medical treatment (Brown, New York Times, 9/20).
Meanwhile, on Sept. 16, registered nurses at the facility voted to assess support for a potential strike, the Merced Sun-Star reports.
Joe Lombardi, vice president of human resources for Mercy, said that the California Nurses Association labor union, which represents the nurses, is seeking annual wage increases of 7% for seven years for about 400 registered nurses.
Lombardi said that if the nurses do decide to strike, they would have to give 10 days' notice to the hospital (Reiter, Merced Sun-Star, 9/17).
Mills-Peninsula Health Services, San Mateo
On Wednesday, nurses from Mills-Peninsula Health Services were scheduled to protest a plan to relocate the inpatient acute rehabilitation center at Mills Health Center in San Mateo to a skilled nursing facility in Burlingame, the San Jose Mercury News reports.
The nurses and the CNA union say they are concerned that the move will reduce the quality of care given to patients because it will downgrade the unit's licensing. There are also concerns about staffing cuts and the subsequent workload for the nurses. Administrators at Mills-Peninsula Health Services said the move is necessary because the facility cannot afford a $50 million seismic renovation that would be required if the rehab center remains at MHC (Rosenberg, San Jose Mercury News, 9/23).
Sharp Grossmont Hospital, San Diego County
On Sept. 16, Sharp Grossmont Hospital held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for a new five-story tower featuring 90 beds, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.
The project cost $41 million and is the first phase of renovations at the hospital funded by a $247 million bond measure passed by East County voters in June 2006 (Krueger, San Diego Union-Tribune, 9/17).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.