California Hospital News Roundup for the Week of September 9, 2011
California Pacific Medical Center, San Francisco
San Francisco-based California Pacific Medical Center has begun using aromatherapy to help reduce patient stress, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
The aromatherapy program launched in April and aims to reduce stress, fear, pain, nausea, and other emotional and physical conditions. Nurse Marilen Logan, who created the program, said patients have been enthusiastic about the therapy (Allday, San Francisco Chronicle, 8/30).
Catholic Healthcare West
Catholic Healthcare West is reviewing a possible increase in malpractice insurance coverage for its affiliated physicians, the Santa Cruz Sentinel reports.
California Medical Association CEO Dustin Corcoran noted that at Santa Cruz-based Dominican Hospital, medical staff members could be required to carry malpractice insurance for $2 million per occurrence and $6 million annually. The figures are double what most California physicians now carry.
An adjustment to malpractice insurance for CHW-affiliated physicians could set a precedent for other hospitals and health systems.
According to CHW officials, the contracts on malpractice insurance that are under evaluation are with corporate medical groups and especially those with high-risk specialty services (Gumz, Santa Cruz Sentinel, 9/1).
Kaiser Permanente, San Diego
Kaiser Permanente tentatively has agreed to purchase the 60-acre Alliant International University campus in Scripps Ranch as part of a plan to build a new hospital, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. Officials from Kaiser and Alliant said the deal could close by the end of this year.
Rodger Dougherty, a Kaiser spokesperson, said the purchase was based on factors that include recent membership growth and additional growth expected in 2014 when a federal health reform law provision requiring most Americans to have insurance takes effect.
Jennifer Wilson, Alliant's vice president for administration, said the university that serves 1,500 students would relocate elsewhere within the county (Showley/Lavelle, San Diego Union-Tribune, 8/27).
Loma Linda University Heart and Surgical Hospital
Loma Linda University Heart and Surgical Hospital has started offering robotic throat surgery using the da Vinci Robotic Surgical System, the Riverside Press-Enterprise reports. The hospital has been using the system for other types of surgeries for the past four years. FDA approved the use of robots for throat surgeries in December 2010.
The da Vinci system allows a surgeon to control the arms of the robot from a console about 10 feet away from the operating bed. A second physician assists in the surgery at the bedside. Hospital officials say the system will be especially useful for operations targeting throat tumors (Santschi, Riverside Press-Enterprise, 9/6).
Scripps Health, San Diego County
Scripps Health has been named AARP's 2011 Best Employer for Workers Over 50, marking the first time a California employer has won the award since its inception in 2001, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.
AARP recognized the hospital system for its recruitment, promotion and retention of older employees. Scripps also received praise for its commitment to offer older employees the same educational training and scholarship opportunities as younger employees (Lavelle, San Diego Union-Tribune, 9/6).
UC-Davis Medical Center, Sacramento
On Tuesday, the Sacramento City Council voted 6-3 in favor of a plan to redistrict UC-Davis Medical Center's campus from District 5 to District 6, placing it with neighborhoods on the city's southeast side, the Sacramento Bee reports.
The vote followed months of tense debate and protests about the change. Opponents said the hospital's location in District 5 provided a symbol of prosperity in the Oak Park area. Supporters of the redistricting said District 6 should be involved in discussions about the expansion of the hospital (Lillis, Sacramento Bee, 9/7).
UC-San Diego Health System
HIMSS Analytics -- the research division of the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society -- has recognized UC-San Diego Health System for reaching Stage 7, the highest stage on its electronic health record adoption model, Healthcare IT News reports.
The Stage 7 award recognizes hospitals that operate in a paperless environment and serve as models for EHR adoption. UCSD's health system is one of 58 health care organizations to receive HIMSS Analytics' Stage 7 award (Merrill, Healthcare IT News, 9/6).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.