Hospital News Roundup for December 14, 2007
Contra Costa Regional Medical Center plans to close its eight-bed pediatric unit on April 15, a move that some providers worry will disproportionately burden low-income patients, the Contra Costa Times reports.
The county-owned hospital has the only pediatric unit in Contra Costa County that accepts fee-for-service Medicare beneficiaries. Once the unit is closed, patients will be transferred to other facilities, including Children's Hospital Oakland, UC-San Francisco or UC-Davis.
Hospital officials will reassess the planned closure in three months before making a final decision (Kleffman, Contra Costa Times, 12/11).
On Tuesday, the Sacramento County Board of Supervisors voted 3-2 to grant the trauma center designation to Kaiser Permanente Medical Center, the Sacramento Bee reports.
Kaiser was competing with Methodist Hospital to become the region's only trauma center. The county gave a 2010 deadline for completing the trauma center, but Kaiser announced the facility will be ready two years ahead of schedule.
The hospital will spend $300 million to expand its services, including $30 million on its emergency department and trauma center (Kalb, Sacramento Bee, 12/12).
Capital Public Radio's "KXJZ News" on Wednesday reported on the vote. The segment includes comments from Supervisor Roberta MacGlashan (Milne, "KXJZ News," Capital Public Radio, 12/12).
A transcript and audio of the segment are available online.
Mee Memorial Hospital closed its Paso Robles Urgent Care Clinic and adjacent cancer center last week amid financial problems and concerns surrounding its business practices, the San Luis Obispo Tribune reports.
The closing came one day after Mee announced that rising debt forced the hospital to close the cancer center. The company lost $1.78 million in 2006 and $818,000 in 2005, according to state records.
Officials from San Luis Obispo County's three largest hospitals said it is too early to weigh the impact of the clinic's displaced patients on other facilities. Civic and business leaders said they will work quickly to find a replacement facility (Curran, San Luis Obispo Tribune, 12/9).
Saint Agnes Medical Center this week received a new device for removing tumors and lesions without performing high-risk surgery, the Fresno Bee reports.
The $4.5 million Gamma Knife can focus on a tumor or lesion within one-millimeter accuracy. The hospital is one of only 200 facilities worldwide to use the technology.
The device will be ready for use around February 2008, according to the Bee (Correa, Fresno Bee, 12/10).
On Thursday, members of the California Nurses Association began a two-day strike at 13 Sutter Health hospitals, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
The union and hospital officials have been negotiating a contract since spring. Sticking points remain over patient care, staffing, and health and retiree benefits.
CNA nurses held a similar walkout Oct. 10 to 12. Officials at most hospitals said the striking nurses will not be able to return to work for as long as five days due to the length of contracts for replacement nurses (Colliver, San Francisco Chronicle, 12/13).