Hospital News Roundup for March 30
Community Regional Medical Center will complete its merger with University Medical Center on April 18 after a three-day process of transferring patients to CRMC from UMC's burn unit and trauma center, the Fresno Bee reports.
The merger has been planned since 1996, when CRMC made a deal with Fresno County to take over UMC.
About 130 patients will be moved from UMC, which is shutting down its acute care services after the merger, according to the Bee.
CRMC will have 457 beds after the merger, with plans to add 52 beds in 2008 and 52 in 2009, Phyllis Baltz, chief operating officer at the hospital, said (Correa, Fresno Bee, 3/28).
State officials on Monday fined Laguna Honda Hospital $100,000 in relation to the death last year of an 82-year-old patient who fell from a window, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.
The Department of Health Services in a statement said hospital staff "failed to review, evaluate, update and implement the care plan" for the patient, who had dementia and "was at risk for falling and wandering."
The San Francisco Department of Public Health plans to appeal the fine, department spokesperson Eileen Shields said (Goodyear, San Francisco Chronicle, 3/27).
Some staff physicians at Paradise Valley Hospital are criticizing new policies under which they must receive approval from the hospital's medical director before admitting patients into the intensive care unit, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. The policies also require approval of a four-physician review panel for certain cardiac procedures.
Critics of the new policies say hospital officials should have sought input from medical staff officers before implementing the changes. Some physicians maintain that the hospital administrators are placing concerns about cost containment above patient care.
Hospital CEO Luis Leon said the policies are expected to help reduce costs but were primarily designed as a way to improve patient care (Darce, San Diego Union-Tribune, 3/25).
The Los Angeles City Planning Commission agreed to postpone for two months a vote on the proposed expansion of Providence Holy Cross Medical Center after community groups raised concerns about the plan's potential impact on traffic and the environment, the Los Angeles Daily News reports.
The Sylmar Neighborhood Council, environmental groups and a health care workers' union want the city to conduct a full environmental impact report on the proposal.
Kerry Carmody, an administrator at Providence Holy Cross Medical Center, said the commission's decision to delay the vote could hinder the hospital's attempts to expand services (Hopkins, Los Angeles Daily News, 3/29).
The Navy is spending $9 million to rebuild the heating and air conditioning system at San Diego Naval Medical Center after potentially harmful mold was found inside ventilation ducts during a routine inspection last spring, hospital officials said, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.
Capt. David Tam, deputy commander at the hospital, said the mold levels are lower than in outdoor, air and no related injuries or deaths have occurred.
Amy Rohlfs, a hospital spokesperson, said replacement of the system should be completed next month (Liewer, San Diego Union-Tribune, 3/25).
Sonoma County supervisors and local medical experts are questioning whether Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital would be capable of treating more patients if nearby Sutter Medical Center closes in January 2008 and transfers certain publicly guaranteed programs to Memorial, the Santa Rosa Press Democrat reports.
Average wait times for emergency department patients at Memorial have increased over the past 14 months, according to hospital data.
Memorial officials say they are working to decrease the time and have plans for further improving efficiency if Sutter closes (Rose, Santa Rosa Press Democrat 3/25).