Hospital News Roundup for March 16
Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles last week unveiled a new coordinated care center to treat patients with ALS, or Lou Gehrig's disease, the Los Angeles Times reports. The facility allows patients to see multiple specialists and therapists in one location, rather than coordinating care with physicians at several locations (Lin II, Los Angeles Times, 3/11).
Sonoma County officials are considering a proposal by a local Indian tribe to cover Sutter Medical Center's $11 million budget deficit and fund $50 million in seismic retrofit costs, the Santa Rosa Press Democrat reports.
The Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria wants to build a casino that county supervisors oppose.
Valerie Brown, Board of Supervisors chair, said the proposal will be considered once more details are revealed, provided that Sutter includes it in options for maintaining some services once the hospital closes (Rose, Santa Rosa Press Democrat, 3/14).
San Diego County Supervisors on Tuesday voted to oppose UC-San Diego Medical Center's plan to move its acute-care beds and trauma and burn centers from Hillcrest to La Jolla by 2030, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.
Supervisors said most of the campus' patients live in the south and central parts of the county, where few hospitals are located. The relocation would financially burden the remaining facilities by increasing the number of low-income patients they would treat.
UCSD officials said the acute-care facility in Hillcrest will be inoperable after 2030 because it does not meet state seismic requirements and renovations would not be cost-effective (Clark, San Diego Union-Tribune, 3/14).
Medical staff at Alameda County Juvenile Hall earlier this month asked county supervisors to investigate a recent bidding process in which Children's Hospital Oakland was chosen as medical provider for a new juvenile detention facility opening in April, the Contra Costa Times reports.
The medical staff charged the county with favoring Children's Hospital and not giving equal treatment to the other two bidders, including Alameda County Medical Center, the staff's employer.
County officials refute the allegations and said the county medical center submitted an incomplete bid that was over budget (Vesely, Contra Costa Times, 3/11).
Contra Costa Regional Medical Center's executive director last week said the hospital has changed its procedures for treating psychiatric patients after local police this year reported more than 20 security lapses in which patients left before receiving treatment, the Contra Costa Times reports.
The patients in all cases were brought involuntarily to the hospital's emergency department by police after they were considered dangerous to themselves or others.
Under the new procedures, patients now will be moved immediately from the ED to a locked area for medical evaluations (Kleffman, Contra Costa Times, 3/10).
San Bernardino County supervisors on Tuesday voted to assume management of the city-owned Colorado River Medical Center in Needles, the Riverside Press Enterprise reports. County officials said they are taking over the facility to preserve local residents' access to medical care.
The county will operate the facility as a critical access hospital, designed to improve rural health care and reduce hospital closures. Services will include 24-hour emergency care, but acute-care inpatient beds will be limited (Gang, Riverside Press-Enterprise, 3/13).
The managing board of Doctors Medical Center in San Pablo last week ordered a consulting group to conduct a profit-loss analysis of the hospital and explore new models, the East Bay Business Times reports.
The Joint Powers Authority ordered the analysis after the consultant, Speltz & Weis, found the hospital's business model to be unsustainable. The board also called for an overhaul in the hospital's business office, including systems that issue bills in the wrong format that are regularly denied by payers (Hogarth, East Bay Business Times, 3/9).
San Diego County's mental health services director on Monday criticized the new owners of Paradise Valley Hospital for breaking their contractual obligations by planning to immediately close an adolescent psychiatric program at Bayview Behavioral Health in Chula Vista, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.
Jack Lungu, Bayview's executive director, said Prime Healthcare plans to convert the program to adult inpatient beds to compensate for a shortage of ED beds. He added that the Attorney General's Office was aware of the plan before the sale to Prime was approved.
However, a document from the attorney general approving the sale shows that Prime is required to maintain Bayview's psychiatric beds "at current types and levels of service" (Clark, San Diego Union-Tribune, 3/14).
UCLA officials this week said the new Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center will not meet its goal of opening in September, the Los Angeles Times reports.
The original opening goal for the hospital was 2004, and costs for the project have increased from $597.7 million in 1998 to $829.3 million. The 525-bed hospital might not open until 2008 (Ornstein, Los Angeles Times, 3/10).
Officials at San Joaquin General Hospital this week said an unexpected shortage of patients during the winter months has strained the hospital's revenue, the Stockton Record reports.
Ken Cohen, county director of health care services, said the hospital saw 20 to 30 fewer patients during the winter months than its projection of 145 to 150.
Cohen said the hospital before the patient shortage was losing revenue, and estimated that the facility would face a deficit of $7 million to $10 million if the low patient volume continues through spring and summer (Kane, Stockton Record, 3/11).
The Santa Rosa City Council on Tuesday gave its approval to a plan to issue $56 million in tax-exempt bonds for Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital, the Santa Rosa Press Democrat reports.
The bond will pay for seismic upgrades to Memorial's east wing, central plant and Heart Institute. The money will be borrowed through the California Statewide Communities Development Authority (McCoy, Santa Rosa Press Democrat, 3/14).