Hospital News Roundup for August 24
Alameda County Medical Center executives are proposing a $550 million upgrade to the health system's Highland Hospital to meet state seismic safety guidelines, the San Francisco Business Times reports.
ACMC officials are in the process of securing funding for the project, which still is in the preliminary stages. The upgrades would include replacing the inpatient tower and could take until 2017 to complete.
The county is willing to fund the project through a combination of short-term commercial loans and a bond issue, Wright Lassiter, CEO of the health system, said.
The hospital must maintain profitability to receive the financial support, according to the Business Times. The county has set aside about 10% of the project's expected cost, which should sustain funding through mid-2008, Lassiter said (Rauber, San Francisco Business Times, 8/17).
Lucile Packard Children's Hospital will give a $175,000 short-term loan to Ravenswood Family Health Center to offset a loss in Medi-Cal funding during the state budget stalemate, Ravenswood officials said on Monday, the Business Times reports.
Luisa Buada, Ravenswood CEO, said the withheld Medi-Cal payments have forced the clinic to delay "the anticipated start of critically needed community mental health services and have slowed [its] hiring process for vacancies" (San Francisco Business Times, 8/20).
Managers and some workers at Rady Children's Hospital are petitioning for a decertification vote on whether to remove the Service Employees International Union from the hospital, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.
If approved, the decertification would cancel a two-year contract that covers 700 of the hospital's 3,200 employees. The contract was approved four months ago.
Union officials maintain that hospital managers violated contract provisions that allow union representatives to meet with workers and represent them in grievance proceedings.
Before the vote can be held, the National Labor Relations Board must investigate a series of complaints filed by the SEIU against the hospital. Hospital managers hope to hold the vote by the end of September (Darcé, San Diego Union-Tribune, 8/19).
Stanislaus County's Board of Supervisors on Tuesday voted to sell the county-owned Stanislaus Behavioral Health Center to Tenet Healthcare, parent of Doctors Medical Center in Modesto, the Modesto Bee reports.
Under the $11.1 million agreement, DMC will take over the facility in October, and the county will reserve 35 of the hospital's 67 beds for Medi-Cal patients.
Rick Robinson, county CEO, said revenue from selling the facility will help the county reduce its financial losses from operating the hospital. The facility has been losing about $6 million annually (Carlson, Modesto Bee, 8/22).
The California Nurses Association on Monday announced that its members approved a new collective bargaining agreement with nine Tenet Healthcare hospitals in California that will raise nurses' salaries an average of 25.5% over four years, the San Francisco Chronicle reports (Raine, San Francisco Chronicle, 8/21).
The agreement covers 3,500 registered nurses in the state and includes "significant" patient care enhancements and improved union rights, according to CNA.
The pact also includes a broader five-year agreement covering organizing rights and dispute resolution, according to the Business Times.
Hospitals covered by the agreement include:
- Community Hospital in Los Gatos;
- San Ramon Regional Medical Center;
- Doctors Medical Center in Modesto;
- USC University Hospital in Los Angeles;
- Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center in San Luis Obispo;
- Los Alamitos Medical Center;
- USC Norris Cancer Center in Los Angeles;
- Desert Regional Medical Center in Palm Springs; and
- Twin Cities Community Hospital in Templeton (Rauber, San Francisco Business Times, 8/20).