California Hospital News Roundup for the Weeks of July 4 and 11, 2008
Over the past two years, Children's Hospital Central California has reduced its patient wait times by 30% and decreased its number of patients leaving without treatment from 13% to 2%, the Fresno Bee reports.
The hospital attributes the improvements to its creation of an urgent care section in its emergency department to treat children with minor problems (Fresno Bee, 6/28).
Providence Health & Services has agreed to buy and operate the 245-bed Tarzana portion of Encino-Tarzana Regional Medical Center, the Los Angeles Daily News reports. The facility will be called Providence Tarzana Medical Center.
All of the hospital's services and insurance contracts will remain intact, according to Providence officials.
Prime Healthcare recently purchased the Encino campus of the medical center (Abram, Los Angeles Daily News, 7/1).
Last week, the Alameda County Board of Supervisors approved a $682 million project to replace Highland Hospital's acute care tower, the Oakland Tribune reports.
The supervisors unanimously certified the project's environmental impact report and approved the project, which calls for a nine-story tower with 160 patient beds (Metinko, Oakland Tribune, 7/1).
Los Angeles County government leaders said county employees contributed to the problems that forced Martin Luther King Jr.-Harbor Hospital to terminate inpatient services last year, but at least 22 current employees with significant disciplinary histories remain employed at the current outpatient facility or another county hospital, the Los Angeles Times reports.
The facility's medical lapses have been at least partially blamed on its failure to keep accurate records on workers' job performance.
County health officials said they did their best to eliminate problem employees, but John Schunhoff, the county's interim director of health services, said some laws restricted when and how certain employees could be disciplined (Therolf/Leonard, Los Angeles Times, 7/3).
St. Agnes Medical Center's infection control plan was released last week, detailing steps it would to take to reopen its cardiac surgery unit after a recent outbreak of infections, the Fresno Bee reports.
The plan calls for hiring more infection control staff and aggressively monitoring surgeries in hopes of avoiding leg-incision infections.
The state approved the plan, but Ken August, a spokesperson for the state Department of Public Health, said the unit will not reopen until the hospital is "in compliance with state and federal regulations and the [DPH] reinstates the hospital's special permit for cardiac surgeries" (Anderson, Fresno Bee, 7/4).
Last week, a special panel recommended that St. Luke's Hospital be rebuilt as an acute care community hospital, concluding four months of investigation, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
Supervisor Michela Alioto-Pier said the proposed new facility would cost about $120 million and include between 60 and 80 patient beds. California Pacific Medical Center, which runs St. Luke's, would pay for the construction, according to the Chronicle.
The panel also suggested building the new facility next to the current building, which would remain open during the construction (Fernandez, San Francisco Chronicle, 7/4).
Last month, Sutter Medical Center began notifying 128 employees that their jobs would be eliminated or their hours reduced in two months, the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat reports.
About 12% of the staff and a variety of hospital services will be affected by the cuts, but hospital officials said the cutbacks would not compromise patient care.
Rita Scardaci, Sonoma County health services director, said her office would monitor the cutbacks because supervisors are worried they could affect the facility's ability to fulfill its contractual obligations to the county to provide medical services (Rose, Santa Rosa Press-Democrat, 6/27).
Prime Healthcare Management has completed the purchase of two acute care hospitals from Tenet Healthcare for $41 million, the Dallas Business Journal reports.
Last month, Tenet agreed to sell the 167-bed Garden Grove Hospital and Medical Center and the 93-bed San Dimas Community Hospital (Dallas Business Journal, 7/1).
Last week, UCLA Medical Center transferred 335 patients to its new facility, which opened after significant delays, the Los Angeles Times reports.
The cost of the new facility -- which contains the Ronald Reagan Medical Center, the Mattel Children's Hospital and the Resnick Neuropsychiatric Hospital -- grew from $597.7 million to $829.3 million.
Officials said the facility should be able to withstand an earthquake with a magnitude of 8.0 (Bloomekatz/Therolf, Los Angeles Times, 6/30).
KPCC's "KPCC News" spoke with David Feinberg, UCLA Hospital System's CEO, about the move (Julian, "KPCC News," KPCC, 6/30).