Hospital News Roundup for June 15
Citrus Valley Health Partners has hired a firm to gauge support among East San Gabriel Valley residents for a possible $350 million bond to establish a new health care district in the region, the San Gabriel Valley Tribune reports. The firm also surveyed whether they would support contributing a portion of property taxes to pay for the bond, according to respondents.
Irene Bourdon, vice president of market planning for Citrus Valley, said the survey also gauged community opinion on emergency medical services. The region has experienced a shortage of emergency services for several years.
Hospital officials within two months hope to draw conclusions from the survey (Ortega, San Gabriel Valley Tribune, 6/11).
San Francisco General Hospital is moving forward with a rebuild plan for a 284-bed facility at Potrero Hill that could cost almost $900 million, the San Francisco Business Times reports
Kathy Jung, the hospital's rebuild project director, said the new plan would add additional intensive care unit and medical-surgical beds. The former plan for a new facility was estimated to cost $780 million, according to city officials.
The hospital is seeking an expedited internal and external review so the new facility will be completed by 2015 (Rauber, San Francisco Business Times, 6/8).
Tri-City Medical Center is the first hospital in San Diego County to use scribes to record physician notes and orders in the emergency department, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. The hospital hired undergraduate pre-med students and recent medical school graduates to serve as scribes.
The program will save the hospital about $2.3 million over the next five years, largely because it eliminates the need for transcription services, according to Cary Mells, chair of Tri-City's ED. The program also allows physicians to spend more time with patients and provides the students with ED experience (Darcé, San Diego Union-Tribune, 6/9).
Community Medical Centers on Wednesday pulled out of a deal with Fresno County that would have allowed the hospital to qualify for additional Medi-Cal funds, the Fresno Bee reports.
The hospital is canceling the agreement because county supervisors would not revise the terms to meet federal approval, Community CEO Tim Joslin said. He added that the hospital also disapproved of an alternative county proposal for Community to lease the county-owned University Medical Center.
By canceling the deal, Community must repay $18 million in federal matching funds it received last year. The hospital also will lose $36 million it could have qualified for over the next two years.
Joslin said Community has set aside $18 million for the repayment and will continue to streamline operations to identify future savings (Correa, Fresno Bee, 6/14).
HHS has awarded Golden Valley Health Centers a $525,000 grant to open its fifth clinic for low-income patients in Modesto, the Modesto Bee reports.
The clinic will have nine examination rooms and clinicians to serve about 3,600 low-income residents of the region. Michael Sullivan, executive director of Golden Valley, said the clinic could open in August or September.
The grant was awarded through a HHS initiative to improve services for special populations, such as agricultural workers, children covered by state health programs, uninsured adults and seniors (Carlson, Modesto Bee, 6/12).
Hemet Valley Medical Center officials said the hospital's obstetrics department will not close on June 30 as was requested by physicians in the department who raised safety concerns, the Riverside Press-Enterprise reports.
The physicians in May sent a letter to hospital administrators that said Hemet Valley "operates an inadequate obstetrical facility with poor support services putting patients' lives at risk and exposing physicians to the risk of liability."
Kristi Reedy, a hospital spokesperson, said the physicians agreed to meetings with hospital management to discuss the issues raised in the letter. She added that administrators have "promised to make changes to raise the quality of care at the obstetrical facility" (Atienza, Riverside Press-Enterprise, 6/10).
A Marin Healthcare District board member on Tuesday proposed that the district hire a consultant to explore leasing or selling Marin General Hospital, the San Francisco Business Times reports.
Board member Larry Bedard said potential buyers include Catholic Healthcare West, Tenet Healthcare or current operator Sutter Health, which is expected to run the hospital until July 2010 at the latest. Bedard plans to propose a November ballot initiative that would ask voters to consider a sale or lease of the facility.
The hospital needs hundreds of millions of dollars in seismic upgrades by 2015 to comply with state law (Rauber, San Francisco Business Times, 6/8).
The Palo Alto Medical Foundation at a San Carlos City Council meeting on Monday unveiled a development agreement that would generate at least $91 million over 50 years for the city if officials approve its proposal to build a medical center, the Oakland Tribune reports.
The financial incentives in the agreement are nearly double what the foundation proposed in its previous version of the plan. The agreement is an attempt to compensate for the sales revenue the city would lose in developing the proposed cite as a medical center operated by a not-for-profit foundation rather than as a for-profit retailer.
The proposal's environmental impact report has been approved, and a series of hearings with city officials to determine final approval are expected to begin in July (Bishop, Oakland Tribune, 6/12).
Palomar Pomerado Health district approved a $418.7 million budget for the 2007-2008 fiscal year, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.
Palomar Pomerado, the largest public hospital district in California, operates Palomar Medical Center in Escondido and Pomerado Hospital in Poway.
The budget projects a 3% growth in inpatient visits, 5% increase in emergency department visits and a 4.6% rise in inpatient surgeries, according to Bob Hemker, CFO of the district. Hemker said the increases reflect a growing population in the region (Lou, San Diego Union-Tribune, 6/9).
Unions representing 1,500 staff members at Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center on Monday called off a planned one-day walkout scheduled for the next day, the Los Angeles Daily News reports.
Representatives of the Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West agreed to a 30-day cooling-off period brokered by a Los Angeles City Council member.
Hospital staff members are seeking improved job security and increased staffing (Hopkins, Los Angeles Daily News, 6/11).
Sacramento Radiology Medical Group has sold its assets to the Catholic Healthcare West Medical Foundation, the medical arm of hospital owner Catholic Healthcare West, the Sacramento Business Journal reports. The group will conduct business as Mercy Imaging Centers.
The deal gives CHW an additional 16 radiologists and an increased stake in the outpatient sector. CHW already had six radiologists in Mercy Medical Group, its in-house multispecialty group.
CHW has offered positions to all staff members of the medical group. The deal does not affect where patients receive imaging services (Robertson, Sacramento Business Journal, 6/8).