Palomar Pomerado Health District Will Increase Hospital Rates 8% Beginning April 1
Palomar Pomerado Health district will increase hospital rates and other services by an average of 8% beginning April 1, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. Bob Hemker, chief financial officer of Palomar Pomerado Health district, which operates Palomar Medical Center and Pomerado Hospital, said the increases are necessary to offset salary increases and added benefits for employees, as the district tries to "remain competitive in retaining personnel." He estimated that the increase will raise approximately $2.5 million in revenue to help pay for an estimated $3.4 million in expenses in the next fiscal year, including $1.6 million in employee raises and increased benefits, $950,000 for on-call physicians and other services for Palomar Medical Center's trauma unit and about $850,000 for services in the emergency department. The district still will face a $900,000 shortfall, but Hemker said Palomar Pomerado will find other funding sources to cover the difference (San Diego Union-Tribune, 3/16).
In other Palomar Pomerado Health district news, pro-union nurses will conduct an "informational picketing" session today to try to persuade health district officials to recognize their representation by the California Nurses Association, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. The "Safe Patient Care Rally" is meant to "raise public awareness and put pressure on the hospital district board that the majority of the nurses in the district want to be represented by [the union]," Ted Cahill, a CNA organizer, said. He added that nurses in the district have gathered "far more" than the 50% plus one signatures needed for CNA to represent the nurses (Berhman, San Diego Union-Tribune, 3/16). A state law (AB 1281) that took effect Jan. 1 allows union supporters simply to gather signatures of a majority of nurses to approve unionization, removing the need for an election (California Healthline, 2/5). But district officials said last month that they will not honor the results of the signature campaign, prompting pro-union nurses to say that system officials are trying to intimidate nurses (California Healthline, 2/7).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.