Hospital News Roundup for November 16, 2007
Patients and some employees at Coalinga State Hospital say staffing shortages and standoffs between patients and administrators are impeding psychiatric and medical care at the facility, the Los Angeles Times reports.
The hospital was opened in 2005 to treat high-risk sex offenders who have completed their sentences but were not released because of perceived mental illnesses.
However, 75% of the hospital's more than 600 patients refuse to participate in a core treatment program, and not a single patient has completed treatment and been released, according to the latest data from August. Meanwhile, 26 of the hospital's 37 staff psychiatrist positions are vacant, leaving police officers to fill in for roles normally designated for clinicians, the Times reports (Gold/Romney, Los Angeles Times, 11/15).
Tustin Hospital and Medical Center announced last week that it is closing its emergency department Dec. 29 after concerns about inadequate staffing prompted the Orange County Emergency Medical Services to revoke the hospital's Paramedic Receiving Center designation, the Orange County Register reports.
Without the designation, paramedics will not transport 911 patients to the hospital's six-bed ED. Orange County EMS is recommending private ambulances also take similar measures.
Howard Sutter of the County of Orange Health Care Agency, which oversees the county's EMS, said patients will be rerouted to approved EDs in the county (Edds, Orange County Register, 11/9).
Community Memorial Hospital plans to file a federal tax statement this week detailing more than $100,000 in hospital purchases by a former administrator, including gifts to physicians and personal items, the Ventura County Star reports.
The Internal Revenue Service will determine whether the purchases were legitimate business expenses.
Michael Bakst, the former hospital administrator, said the items were all legitimate purchases and were approved by the hospital's board. The hospital did not have a policy on gifts at the time.
Bakst was terminated in 2003 after serving as top administrator of the not-for-profit facility for 24 years (Wilson, Ventura County Star, 11/15).
On Monday, Eden Township Healthcare District's directors approved an agreement with Sutter Health that would transfer control of Eden Medical Center, the Oakland Tribune reports.
Under the deal, Sutter would finance a $300 million project to replace the hospital with a new six-story medical center that would open in 2013.
The contract also guarantees temporary financial aid to San Leandro Hospital. The facility is operated by Sutter and Eden Medical Center under lease from the district (Holzmeister, Oakland Tribune, 11/13).
Hoag Hospital has received a $1 million donation to support the facility's new diabetes center, hospital officials announced Wednesday, the Orange County Register reports.
The diabetes center:
- Educates medical staff on treatment options;
- Helps patients with disease management; and
- Informs residents about diabetes risk factors.
The center also received a $1 million donation in September (Overley, Orange County Register, 11/14).
Last week, Natividad Medical Center opened a new Diabetes Education Center, the Monterey County Herald reports.
Services at the facility will include group diabetes management classes and free support groups.
The center is staffed by registered nurses and a registered dietician. The facility also plans to hire a patient services representative in the near future (Johnson, Monterey County Herald, 11/10).
CDC officials are investigating bacterial infections that affected at least a dozen heart surgery patients at Saint Agnes Medical Center, the Fresno Bee reports.
Patrick Marabella, chief medical officer at Saint Agnes, said that two of the 12 patients who developed infections have died, but the causes of death have not yet been determined.
Neither the hospital nor public health officials had publicly disclosed the incidents, according to the Bee.
Marabella said CDC is expected to complete the investigation by Friday (Correa/Anderson, Fresno Bee, 11/9).
On Wednesday, San Joaquin Community Hospital announced a new smoking ban that applies to patients, employees and visitors, the Bakersfield Californian reports.
Previously, only patients were banned from smoking under regulations adopted in September, Bob Beehler, hospital CEO, said.
Sam Itani, associate vice president of support services for the hospital, said any person caught smoking will be given a card by hospital staff that includes the new policy and information on obtaining cessation assistance (Hagedorn, Bakersfield Californian, 11/14).
The League of Women Voters is petitioning Sequoia Healthcare District to postpone an agreement to privatize and rebuild Sequoia Hospital so that a public vote can be held on the proposal, the Oakland Tribune reports.
Under the agreement, the district, hospital and its manager -- Catholic Healthcare West -- would each contribute $75 million toward a $240 million seismic retrofit of the facility.
Jamie Shepard, president of the league's southern San Mateo County chapter, said district officials have not fully informed the public that they would lose their seats on the hospital's 10-member governing board if the proposal is approved.
Stephani Scott, district CEO, said a public election on the proposal could cost more than $200,000. The district has held public meetings and sent letters about the proposal to inform area residents, Scott said (Bishop, Oakland Tribune, 11/15).
Sutter Health is planning to install its Epic electronic health record system in phases at six Northern California hospitals by 2015, the San Francisco Business Times reports.
The project is expected to cost between $450 million and $500 million, but the estimate could increase, according to the Business Times.
Jerry Padavano, appointed in March by Sutter to oversee the project, said he expects all of the hospitals "to be live on the EHR by 2015," but the deadline is not official (Rauber, San Francisco Business Times, 11/9).