Hospital News Roundup for February 16
Republican lawmakers have proposed to transform Agnews Developmental Center in San Jose into a prison medical facility, the San Jose Mercury News reports. The facility would not operate until Agnews closes in 2008.
The proposed facility would treat geriatric inmates, as well as those in hospice care, with psychological problems or living with long-term conditions such as cancer or AIDS.
Robert Sillen, a federal court-appointed receiver in charge of reforming the state's prison health care system, has complete authority over proposals to build inmate health facilities. Sillen's office has not yet been briefed on the proposal (Garcia, San Jose Mercury News, 2/15).
A consulting group on Monday issued a preliminary report on improvements to Doctors Medical Center in San Pablo that would help the hospital recover from operating losses and build revenue, the Contra Costa Times reports.
The report included improvements to the hospital's information technology system and billing and collection system, as well as recommendations to find new sources of business and increase the patient census. A final report will be issued in March.
The hospital has been operating at a monthly loss of $1 million or more during the past two years. The facility last year filed for bankruptcy protection (Lochner, Contra Costa Times, 2/13).
Los Angeles City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo on Wednesday accused Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center of deliberately refusing to release the medical records of a homeless patient involved in an illegal dumping investigation, the Los Angeles Times reports (DiMassa, Los Angeles Times, 2/15).
Delgadillo said his office obtained medical-release forms from the patient.
However, the hospital is questioning the authenticity of the patient's signature. In response to the announcement, a hospital spokesperson said "We had been meeting with the City Attorney's Office and thought we had an agreement worked out" (Orlov, Los Angeles Daily News, 2/14).
Kaiser Permanente and Catholic Healthcare West have filed bids to provide Level II trauma care at their respective hospitals in Sacramento, the Sacramento Business Journal reports. The facilities are within a two-mile radius of each other.
The county on April 10 will announce the winner and on July 24 will finalize the designation. The hospitals will be judged on quality of service and compliance with state standards and requirements developed by the trauma committee at the American College of Surgeons (Robertson, Sacramento Business Journal, 2/12).
UC-San Diego Medical Center last week announced that it voluntarily was suspending its heart transplant program after federal officials notified the facility that it might lose Medicare funding after failing to meet minimum agency standards for the number of heart transplants performed annually, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Federal regulations require at least 12 heart transplants annually to ensure quality. However, the hospital performed only four heart transplants in 2006 and 10 the year before.
The hospital has not yet lost funding, but administrators chose to suspend the program to allow time to address the shortfall (Ornstein/Weber, Los Angeles Times, 2/10).