Hospital News Roundup for February 2
Atascadero State Hospital officials are expressing concern about a recent proposal to build 1,123 permanent mental health beds at the California Men's Facility by 2011 because it could widen the state hospital's staffing vacancies, the San Luis Obispo Tribune reports.
The hospital currently has all-time high vacancy rates of 70% for psychiatrists and 60% for psychologists. Hospital officials attribute the vacancies to low salaries for mental health workers compared with state prison employees. A hospital spokesperson said the proposal "underscores the need to work (with the corrections department) toward a solution" (Arnquist, San Luis Obispo Tribune, 2/1).
Bruceville Terrace nursing home in Sacramento has been fined $100,000 by the state following the investigation of the death of a man who was given an overdose of intravenous morphine, the Sacramento Bee reports. The fine is the highest financial penalty under state law.
The nursing home after the state investigation was required to submit a correction plan, which was accepted by state officials. However, Linda Turner, director of nursing, said the facility "is not in agreement" with the penalty and is "appealing the determination" (Griffith, Sacramento Bee, 2/1).
The state Department of Health Services has reopened discussions with CMS officials to resolve a repayment issue between Community Medical Centers and Fresno County, the Fresno Bee reports. State officials last week informed the county that its $18 million payment to the hospital was rejected by CMS.
The county's payment was intended to help the hospital qualify for an additional $17 million in Medi-Cal funds.
Linda Minamoto, a regional CMS official, said the problem involves the intergovernmental transfer of money and the wording of the contract between the county and Community that linked Medi-Cal reimbursement with care for inmates and indigent patients. A final CMS decision will be made by Friday (Correa, Fresno Bee, 1/27).
Officials from Doctors Medical Center and Contra Costa County this week unveiled a final draft of a proposed joint powers agreement that would create a board to oversee the bankrupt hospital, the Contra Costa Times reports.
The proposal would create the Doctors Medical Center Management Authority, in which the county would fill three seats, and the remaining two seats would be appointed by the board. The plan on Monday will seek the approval of the health care district board and on Tuesday the Board of Supervisors (Lochner, Contra Costa Times, 2/1).
Good Samaritan Hospital is facing criticism from its nurses for focusing on million-dollar technology upgrades while downsizing the number of nursing assistants, the San Jose Business Journal reports.
The hospital in the last several months has invested $26 million in new technology while also cutting back on the number of nursing assistants. Malinda Markowitz, a surgical nurse, says the cutback has had a negative impact on patient care.
However, Paul Beaupré, the hospital's medical director, said patients give positive feedback and the only complaints are voiced by nurses (Solovitch, San Jose Business Journal, 1/26).
Tecla Mickoseff, director of Harbor-UCLA Medical Center, will retire Feb. 9, the Los Angeles Times reports.
Mickoseff in November was hired by Los Angeles County health officials to serve as interim CEO of the hospital's integration with Martin Luther King Jr./Drew Medical Center (Los Angeles Times, 1/30).