Hospital News Roundup for July 27
The Doctors Medical Center Management Authority board is considering changing the hospital's license with state regulators under a recently approved business plan that would downsize the number of beds at the facility, the Contra Costa Times reports. The management authority is a joint powers agency of Contra Costa County and the West Contra Costa Healthcare District, which owns the hospital.
The three-year plan would reduce the number of licensed beds from 242 to 100, including 24 emergency department beds. The smaller amount better reflects the daily amount of inpatients, according to the Times.
The management board was scheduled to discuss the license changes at its meeting on Thursday, along with updates on contracts with physician groups and hospital finances (Lochner, Contra Costa Times, 7/25).
The Los Angeles Planning Commission on Thursday approved a $143 million plan to expand Providence Holy Cross Hospital, the Los Angeles Daily News reports.
The commission issued a conditional-use permit for the 101-bed hospital after Providence officials agreed to develop a traffic management program and revise its parking plans.
Responding to local concerns, hospital officials said they complied with a commission directive issued in March to ensure that the project would not have a negative impact on the neighborhood (Orlov, Los Angeles Daily News, 7/26).
State regulators by Sept. 14 will inspect Sierra Vista Hospital to determine whether the psychiatric facility will lose its Medicare and Medi-Cal funding after several patient care violations in recent years, the Sacramento Bee reports. Medi-Cal is California's Medicaid program.
State officials in a March inspection declared a state of "immediate jeopardy" at the facility after a patient was given an unusually high dose of a sedative. The hospital also came under scrutiny after a patient's asphyxia death in 2005 was ruled a homicide.
Nancy Purtell, the hospital's CEO, said, "Accordingly, we have corrected the issues identified by the surveyors and submitted a report to them" (Jewett, Sacramento Bee, 7/22).
Union workers at St. John's Regional Medical Center on Wednesday voted to ratify an agreement guaranteeing regular wages while the hospital temporarily closes next month to fumigate mold infestation, the Ventura County Star reports.
The agreement between the hospital and the Service Employees International Union applies to both full and part-time workers. Employees will not be disciplined if they refuse a work assignment at another facility during the closure, but they will not be paid.
The hospital plans to close completely from Aug. 14 to Aug. 24, with the emergency department closing beginning Aug. 8. The closing plan still requires approval from the state (Koehler, Ventura County Star, 7/26).
The UC Board of Regents on Wednesday agreed to pay $7.5 million to settle 35 claims filed on behalf of patients who waited for liver transplants at UC-Irvine Medical Center but were unaware that the program lacked the staffing to perform the operations, the Los Angeles Times reports.
The university in 2005 closed the program following a Times report that found 32 patients died awaiting liver transplants, even as the hospital turned down available livers. The university at the time did not have a full-time liver surgeon for more than a year.
In the three years preceding the closure, UCI did not maintain a post-operation survival rate or perform enough operations to meet federal standards (Berthelsen, Los Angeles Times, 7/26).