Hospital News Roundup for June 25
Community Medical Centers officials said a decision last week to cancel a deal with Fresno County that would have allowed the hospital to qualify for additional Medi-Cal funds will not affect current services, the Fresno Bee reports. Medi-Cal is California's Medicaid program.
John Zelezny, a spokesperson for Community, said the $54 million in additional funds over three years was not earmarked for specific services and the hospital system is not dependent on it (Correa, Fresno Bee, 6/21).
The hospital canceled 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 (California Healthline, 6/15).
Although the funds do not affect current services, Zelezny said the hospital must continue to grow to meet population demand, which "is tough to do if you have a negative bottom line" (Fresno Bee, 6/21).
UC Irvine Medical Center officials this week announced that they have disciplined 22 employees caught in the last month with fraudulent CPR certificates, the Los Angeles Times reports.
The fake certificates were discovered after an employee presented one during a recertification class in May. A subsequent investigation uncovered 21 others.
The disciplined employees represent roughly 1% of UCI workers who are required to take CPR training, according to the Times (Berthelsen, Los Angeles Times, 6/20).
An anonymous donor recently contributed $150 million to UCSF Comprehensive Cancer Center in the form of direct grants and an endowment, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
Center officials said the donation will be used to fund:
- An expansion of clinical research activities;
- Hiring of a director of experimental therapeutics and administrators to foster relationships with pharmaceutical companies testing new cancer therapies; and
- Computer systems to analyze patients' genetic profiles and match them with corresponding therapies (Russell, San Francisco Chronicle, 6/21).
Doctors Medical Center officials this week were expected to release a business plan designed to bring the hospital out of bankruptcy and restore its bottom line, the Contra Costa Times reports.
The business plan, developed under the leadership of CEO Tim Weis, includes a 100-bed hospital with 24 emergency beds. Once the plan is adopted, the hospital will still need about $4 million to $6 million annually in long-term funding, part of which could be covered by a parcel tax increase.
The plan also identifies $20 million in short-term funding requirements, divided into $5 million increments during the next 14 months. The plan would take effect in July, according to Weis (Lochner, Contra Costa Times, 6/17).
The Department of Health Services on Wednesday fined Emmanuel Health Care Center $80,000 following an investigation that found poor patient care led to the death of a resident in August 2005, the Los Angeles Times reports. The penalty against the nursing home is the most severe citation that the state can issue.
John Malley, administrator of Emmanuel, said that the nursing home's parent company, Pleasant Care, plans to appeal the citation (Engel, Los Angeles Times, 6/21).
Kaiser Permanente on Tuesday held a groundbreaking ceremony for its new medical building in Diamond Bar, the San Gabriel Valley Tribune reports. Construction on the facility began in April and is expected to be completed in about a year.
The Diamond Bar Medical Offices will house 12 physicians and medical providers in family medicine, pediatrics and ob/gyn. The facility also will provide laboratory, radiology and pharmacy services (Tanaka, San Gabriel Valley Tribune, 6/20).
Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Santa Rosa earlier this month connected its 117-bed hospital to an electronic health record system, the Santa Rosa Press Democrat reports. Physicians previously were able to access EHRs in their offices and in outpatient settings but not throughout the entire hospital.
The facility is the second Kaiser hospital in Northern California to become fully digitalized. Kaiser plans to spend more than $3.3 billion to fully adopt EHRs for its 8.2 million members nationwide.
Kaiser estimates the EHR system will save $500 million annually through better recordkeeping and improved patient care (Benfell, Santa Rosa Press Democrat, 6/19).
UC-San Francisco Medical Center officials said they will not consider buying, leasing or managing Marin General Hospital once its lease with Sutter Health expires, the San Francisco Business Times reports. The lease will end in 2010 at the latest.
UCSF Medical Center released guidelines stating that it supports:
- A "smooth hand-off from Sutter" to the Marin Healthcare District;
- A bond issue to rebuild the hospital; and
- An independent community medical staff to work at the hospital.
The medical center would be willing to provide some transitional support services to assist the district, according to the guidelines.
District board members are debating the options for Marin General, including a proposal that Sutter purchase the facility or enter into a new long-term lease with the district (Rauber, San Francisco Business Times, 6/15).
The Palo Alto Medical Foundation last week increased from 91 to 97 the number of patient beds in its proposal for a hospital in San Carlos, the Oakland Tribune reports.
The foundation's initial count did not include six Level II nursing beds, which are used to treat infants for minor ailments or care that requires an IV, according to the Tribune. State law requires those beds to be counted.
The foundation also sent the city updated designs for the hospital. A series of hearings to determine final approval of the proposal are scheduled to begin July 17 (Bishop, Oakland Tribune, 6/19).
Scripps Health on Monday announced a $30 million grant from the Howard Charitable Foundation to launch its fundraising campaign for a cardiovascular institute, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.
The $430 million institute will be built on the Scripps Memorial campus in La Jolla, with completion expected in 2015. The facility would combine cardiology programs at Scripps Memorial and nearby Scripps Green (Graham, San Diego Union-Tribune, 6/19).
Officials at St. John's Regional Medical Center next week are expected to approve a 10-day closure so the hospital can be fumigated for mold, the Ventura County Star reports.
Under the plan, the 265-bed hospital would close Aug. 14, and its emergency department would close Aug. 8. The facility would reopen Aug. 24, pending a state inspection.
Hospital operations would be reduced beginning in late July, so very few patients would have to be transferred. ED patients would be diverted to other hospitals (Kisken, Ventura County Star, 6/20).