Hospital News Roundup for March 9
Antelope Valley Hospital at the end of January reported a loss of $5.9 million, more than six times the estimate for the seven-month mark of the 2006-2007 fiscal year, the Los Angeles Daily News reports.
Brad Mucek, CFO for the hospital, attributed the losses to a lower volume of sick patients relative to past years. The hospital's financial state could improve if patient volume rises during the next few months, according to Mucek (Maeshiro, Los Angeles Daily News, 3/4).
Officials at St. Helena Hospital's Cardiovascular Center on Monday said the facility has purchased a $1.2 million diagnostic device for detecting heart disease without recovery time, the San Francisco Business Times reports. The device was purchased largely through donations.
The scanner captures high-resolution images of the heart and coronary arteries and freeze-frames of the heart while it is beating. The process takes less than 10 seconds and can reveal blockages in blood vessels and other problems that other tests have difficulty detecting, according to officials (Rauber, San Francisco Business Times, 3/5).
St. John's Regional Medical Center is considering fumigating the entire facility to combat mold infestation, according to hospital officials and court documents, the Los Angeles Times reports. Mold has been a problem at the facility since it opened in 1992.
The hospital also is considering demolishing and replacing showers, walls, windows and the entire stucco exterior. The hospital estimates the cost at up to $87 million.
According to a hospital source, fumigation would force the hospital to close for at least one month, possibly in late May (Saillant, Los Angeles Times, 3/9).
The Palo Alto Medical Foundation's proposal for a $300 million hospital in San Carlos on Monday won approval from the city Planning Commission, the Oakland Tribune reports.
The committee voted unanimously to recommend that the City Council certify the proposal's environmental impact report. The council on March 26 is scheduled to consider the report (Bishop, Oakland Tribune, 3/7).
Community Medical Centers officials on Monday reported a $9 million loss for fiscal year 2006, the Fresno Bee reports.
The hospital system in October 2006 reported a $5 million budget surplus, but the final audit report did not include a $17.5 million payment from Fresno County. The payment was intended to help the hospital qualify for additional Medi-Cal funds.
However, federal health officials have questioned the legitimacy of the payment and so far have ruled to disallow the payment. Federal officials said the payment issue still could be resolved (Correa, Fresno Bee, 3/6).
A report released Monday by a consulting group said Doctors Medical Center is "capital starved" and cited opportunities for improvements totaling more than $14 million annually, the East Bay Business Times reports.
The report also noted one-time opportunities worth $4.5 million. After the improvements, the bankrupt hospital still would face costs totaling $21 million over the next three years, not including the cost of seismic upgrades (Hogarth, East Bay Business Times, 3/6).
Irwin Hansen, CEO of the hospital, is considering potential partnerships with other health care providers to build revenue. Hansen has contacted Kaiser Permanente and the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (Hogarth, East Bay Business Times, 3/7).
French Hospital Medical Center has received a total of $4.5 million to help build a new cardiac care center, the San Luis Obispo Tribune reports. The $8 million project is receiving an additional $4 million from Catholic Healthcare West, the hospital's owner.
The cardiac center will feature the latest equipment, two new catheterization labs and an expanded cardiac intensive care unit. The hospital hopes to double the number of heart patients with the new center (Cleveland, San Luis Obispo Tribune, 3/7).
Kaiser Permanente on Wednesday said it plans to move several primary services from Martinez to Antioch and Walnut Creek during the next year, despite complaints by city officials and local members, the Contra Costa Times reports.
The Martinez City Council in February voted to oppose the decision, saying it would present hardships for local Kaiser members, especially seniors.
Kaiser officials say 90% of local members will not be affected by the changes (Samaniego, Contra Costa Times, 3/8).
Sharp Coronado has begun providing holistic services at no cost to patients in an effort to increase patient volume and satisfaction, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.
The services include massages, aromatherapy treatments and acupuncture. The not-for-profit hospital hopes the services will better meet patients' needs and increase its bottom line.
The hospital spends about $45,000 annually on the services (Darcé, San Diego Union-Tribune, 3/8).
Officials at Simi Valley Hospital on Monday said the emergency department's expansion and renovation will be completed this spring, the Ventura County Star reports. The renovations are intended to reduce patient waiting times and improve care in a major disaster, according to officials.
Gary Irish, president and CEO of the hospital, said that the expansion represents a multiphase initiative that ultimately will result in a new emergency department (Ventura County Star, 3/6).
Voters in the Sonoma Valley health care district on Tuesday approved a $195 annual parcel tax to help cover budget deficits at Sonoma Valley Hospital, the Santa Rosa Press Democrat reports.
The new measure replaces the current $130 million annual parcel tax approved five years ago and is expected to generate up to $3 million during the next five years. Hospital officials said the parcel tax will sustain the hospital while a new facility is built. The current building does not meet state seismic safety standards.
Hospital officials and community leaders currently are evaluating three alternatives for replacing the hospital (Espinoza, Santa Rosa Press Democrat, 3/7).
St. Bernardine Medical Center next year is expected to have the largest heart program in Southern California, according to its president, the Riverside Press-Enterprise reports.
The hospital currently performs 600 open-heart surgeries annually at its Inland Empire Heart Institute. Steve Barron, the hospital's president, said the hospital has signed a contract with Kaiser Permanente's Sunset Hospital in Hollywood to handle heart procedures for the HMO's members in the area.
The expanded program will perform about 850 open-heart surgeries next year, Barron said.
The hospital might face competition for heart patients from a new private hospital in Loma Linda, as well as other hospitals and outpatient clinics (Gang, Riverside Press-Enterprise, 3/1).