California Hospital News Roundup for the Week of September 30, 2011
Contra Costa Regional Medical Center, Martinez
Consulting group Health Management Associates recently presented a report suggesting that Contra Costa County should continue operating Contra Costa Regional Medical Center, the Contra Costa Times reports.
The report found that the county could cut its operating budget for the public hospital by $27 million annually if it reduced its employee benefits package to align it with the average packages of comparable counties.
County officials said the report was vague and incomplete, adding that it failed to provide sufficient information about how much indigent care the county must provide (Vorderbrueggen, Contra Costa Times, 9/28).
Enloe Regional Cancer Center, Chico
The radiation oncology department at Enloe Regional Cancer Center is undergoing a $4 million technology upgrade, the Chico Enterprise-Record reports.
The center is implementing new software that will facilitate treatment planning. In October, the facility plans to install a new linear accelerator, which would deliver X-rays to a patient's tumor to destroy cancer cells. The new machine, which is expected to be operational by the end of this year, will replace one of Enloe's two older linear accelerators (Chico Enterprise-Record, 9/28).
Kaiser Permanente-San Mateo Medical Office
On Tuesday, Kaiser Permanente workers and community members celebrated the official opening of the San Mateo Medical Office, the San Mateo County Times reports.
Although the office originally was scheduled to open in November, it has been open to the public since August. The facility, which includes seismic safety features, will provide pediatric and family care. It also will offer a pharmacy, laboratory services, mammography, optometry and X-rays (Woudenberg, San Mateo County Times, 9/28).
VacaValley Hospital, Vacaville
VacaValley Hospital, which is operated by NorthBay Healthcare, is slated to undergo a $118 million renovation that would double the hospital's size, the North Bay Business Journal reports.
The project -- which is awaiting approval from the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development -- would add 16 more medical-surgery beds and eight intensive care unit beds to the 50-bed hospital.
Steve Huddleston, a spokesperson for NorthBay, said the construction effort would add about 68,000 square feet to the hospital. He added that NorthBay officials hope to break ground on the project by early 2012 and finish construction by early 2014 (Verel, North Bay Business Journal, 9/26).
VA Central California Health Care System, Fresno
The Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General has dismissed a whistle-blower complaint alleging patient abuse and neglect at the VA Central California Health Care System in Fresno, the Fresno Bee reports.
The complaint stemmed from an investigation that began in January 2010 following a complaint to the VA hotline. TheÂ whistle-blower said a man in his 70s who had diabetes, high blood pressure, kidney disease and other ailments developed bed sores as a result of abuse and neglect while he was a patient in a medical clinic and community living center operated by the system. The patient later died outside the hospital.
The report found that the patient did develop pressure ulcers but that VA staff acted properly, correctly assessed the patient and delivered appropriate care.
Fresno County officials said the incident led them to enhance their wound-care team that serves the community living center (Doyle, Fresno Bee, 9/29).
Valley Health System
Valley Health System has approved Physicians for Healthy Hospitals' request to make quarterly installment payments instead of a $400,000 annual lump sum payment for its recent purchase of Valley Health's Hemet Valley Medical Center, Menifee Valley Medical Center and other assets, the Riverside Press-Enterprise reports.
Physicians for Healthy Hospitals bought the Valley Health properties last year. The terms of the sale required Physicians to make annual grants to the public hospital district to support community benefit programs and satisfy legal obligations.
John Collins, CFO for Physicians, said the doctors group hopes to invest in initiatives that could benefit the community now, which is why it requested the payment schedule change. He noted that one of the initiatives is the implementation of an electronic health record system (Wesson, Riverside Press-Enterprise, 9/28).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.