California Hospital News Roundup for Week of June 4, 2010
Brookside Community Health Center, Richmond
Brookside Community Health Center is lobbying for $1 million annually over four years to build a $7.9 million, 10,000-square-foot clinic with 15 exam rooms and offices, the Contra Costa Times reports.
Health center officials are seeking the funds as a portion of Richmond's recent $114 million utility tax deal with Chevron.
Richmond City Council members said it is too early to commit funds to Brookside's project without first reviewing the city's draft 2010-11 budget (Tam, Contra Costa Times, 5/26).
Community Medical Centers, Fresno
On Tuesday, Fresno-based health system Community Medical Centers announced that it will lay off about 150 workers -- or roughly 2% of its work force -- and reduce hours for other staff members, the Fresno Bee reports. The layoffs will affect both medical workers and corporate staff, officials said.
CMC CEO Tim Joslin said the health system has a budget shortfall of more than $30 million for the first eight months of the current fiscal year. Joslin attributed the shortfall to treating fewer insured patients and receiving reduced reimbursements from government health insurance programs (Fresno Bee, 6/1).
City of Angels Medical Center, Los Angeles
The Department of Justice recently announced that Intercare Health Systems -- the former owner of City of Angels Medical Center -- will pay the federal government a $10 million consent judgment to resolve a civil lawsuit alleging that Intercare participated in a Medicare and Medi-Cal fraud and kickback scheme involving homeless patients, HealthLeaders Media reports. Medi-Cal is California's Medicaid program.
In the lawsuit, federal prosecutors claimed that Intercare paid recruiters employed at Los Angeles homeless shelters to send homeless clients to the hospital by ambulance regardless if the individuals needed urgent treatment. The suit claims that City of Angels then billed Medicare and Medi-Cal for services provided to the homeless patients.
Prosecutors alleged that City of Angels violated the False Claims Act by billing for unnecessary treatments and also violated federal anti-kickback laws by providing payments to the recruiters (Commins, HealthLeaders Media, 5/27).
Dameron Hospital, Stockton
On Thursday, the California Nurses Association withdrew a notice that called for 360Â of itsÂ registered nurses at Dameron Hospital to participate in a multi-hospital strike scheduled for June 10, the Stockton Record reports (Goldeen, Stockton Record, 6/4).
Earlier this week, Dameron Hospital began scaling back several patient services in anticipation of the one-day nurse strike (Goldeen, Stockton Record, 6/2).
The hospital now is expected to resume its full range of medical services (Goldeen, Stockton Record, 6/4).
Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital
On May 28, administrative law judge William Schmidt rejected Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital's allegations that the National Union of Healthcare Workers used improper election tactics during a unionization vote last December, the Santa Rosa Press Democrat reports.
After a December election in which hospital employees narrowly voted for NUHW representation, hospital administrators challenged several ballots and asked the National Labor Relations Board to disregard the results. The initial election tally included 283 votes for NUHW, 263 votes for no union and 13 votes for the Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West.
St. Joseph Health System-Sonoma County -- which runs Santa Rosa Memorial -- challenged 17 ballots but only 13 of the challenges were sustained (Espinoza, Santa Rosa Press Democrat, 6/2).
The hospital has until June 11 to decide whether it will appeal to the federal branch of the labor board (Verel, North Bay Business Journal, 6/2).
St. Bernardine Medical Center, Riverside Medical Clinic
On Wednesday, St. Bernardine Medical Center and Riverside Medical Clinic announced that they have partnered with March Healthcare Development to build a 150-bed, 3.5 million-square-foot, $384.5 million hospital and care facility on a 150-acre former March Air Force Base property, the Riverside Press-Enterprise reports.
The health care organizations plan to spend the next six months developing plans for the proposed medical campus.Catholic Healthcare West, which owns St. Bernardine Medical Center, would lead the construction of the facility, according to St. Bernardine Medical Center President Steve Barron (Pierceall/Hines, Riverside Press-Enterprise, 6/2). 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.