Hospital News Roundup for Dec. 21, 2007
On Wednesday, Community Memorial Hospital reached a $1.52 million settlement with the U.S. Attorney's Office over allegations that the hospital provided illegal payments and other incentives to doctors who referred Medicare beneficiaries to the facility, the Ventura County Star reports.
The settlement absolves the hospitals' current administration and board of trustees from criminal liability.
Federal officials alleged 17 examples of illegal incidents over nearly a decade. According to the attorney's office, the hospital provided physicians with:
- Interest-free loans;
- Rental arrangements at below-market prices;
- Gifts; and
- Employment opportunities for family members (Wilson, Ventura County Star, 10/20).
San Ramon's zoning administrator last week approved a $10 million project to expand San Ramon Regional Medical Center's emergency department, the Contra Costa Times reports.
Gary Sloan, hospital CEO, said construction could begin as early as January 2009, pending approval from the state architect.
The expansion project will double the size of the ED to 18 beds and enlarge and refurbish an adjacent laboratory area (Benca, Contra Costa Times, 12/14).
St. Rose Hospital is partnering with a group of about 50 doctors to build a new $7.5 million imaging center, a move the hospital hopes will entice physicians to remain in independent practice rather than join larger hospital groups, the East Bay Business Times reports.
As part of the deal, the physician group will invest in new equipment and facilities, including:
- A 64-slice CT scanner for cardiology;
- A 16-slice CT scanner for non-cardiac diseases and injuries; and
- A PET scanner for cancer therapy;
The doctors involved in the project are not required to send their patients to St. Rose. The facility is also considering other strategies for attracting physicians, including financial aid (Hogarth, East Bay Business Times, 12/14).
USC/Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center has received a $60 million donation at the bequest of a La Jolla philanthropist, marking the largest gift ever to the facility, the Los Angeles Times reports.
The donation will allow the renamed Jane Anne Nohl Division of Hematology and Center for the Study of Blood Diseases to almost double its staff of 10 research professors. The gift also will:
- Endow three chairs;
- Open up four new slots for junior faculty;
- Establish two post-doctoral research fellowships;
- Endow a research fund; and
- Ensure permanent funding for a physician assistant (Engel, Los Angeles Times, 12/14).