California Hospital News Roundup for the Week of April 13, 2012

TOPIC ALERT:

California Pacific Medical Center, San Francisco

Last week, the San Francisco Planning Commission voted 5-2 to allow California Pacific Medical Center to begin obtaining permits to build and renovate five medical facilities, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

However, members of the planning commission indicated that they expect construction plans to address issues such as funding and traffic before they grant final approval to the proposal (Lee, San Francisco Chronicle, 4/6).

The plan includes building a $1.9 billion hospital with 555 beds on Cathedral Hill and investing $300 million to rebuild St. Luke's Hospital (Burack, San Francisco Examiner, 4/4).

Coalinga State Hospital

The California Division of Occupational Safety and Health has fined Coalinga State Hospital more than $20,000, alleging that the facility failed to protect staff from patient assaults and has an inadequate employee alarm system, the Los Angeles Times reports (Romney, Los Angeles Times, 4/6).

The Department of Mental Health is expected to appeal the citations (The Business Journal, 4/5).

Palomar Medical Center, Escondido

Palomar Health -- a publicly operated health care district serving the inland area of northern San Diego County -- has received a temporary certificate of occupancy for its new $956 million, 11-story Palomar Medical Center, U-T San Diego reports.

The certificate allows Palomar to begin moving furniture into the 740,000 square-foot facility.

The medical center is scheduled to open on Aug. 19 (Lavelle, U-T San Diego, 4/10).

Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital

Last week, Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital and the National Union of Healthcare Workers reached a three-year agreement covering about 700 workers, the Santa Rosa Press Democrat reports.

The agreement includes wage increases, seniority rights and job security protections, according to the union. Peter Tappeiner, an organizer with the union, said workers will receive a 7% wage increase over the next two years under the agreement.

A contract between the hospital and the union was expected to be ratified on Tuesday (Espinoza, Santa Rosa Press Democrat, 4/9).

Simi Valley Hospital

On Monday, Aetna officials said the insurer has terminated its contract and ended negotiations with several hospitals owned by Adventist Health System, including Simi Valley Hospital, the Ventura County Star reports.

The insurer said it wanted to pay lower reimbursement rates to the Adventist hospitals. Anjie Coplin -- a spokesperson for Aetna -- said in a statement, "When comparing services and complexity of cases, Adventist is more expensive for our members compared to other participating hospitals."

However, Simi Valley Hospital spokesperson Alicia Gonzalez said that reducing rates would harm the hospitals and that Aetna had a "favorable" payment rate for acute care services (Kisken, Ventura County Star, 4/9).

St. Joseph's Medical Center, Stockton; Dameron Hospital, Stockton

San Joaquin County's Board of Supervisors has approved an agreement between the county and St. Joseph's Medical Center and Dameron Hospital that designates the facilities as receiving centers for certain types of heart attacks, the Stockton Record reports.

According to the agreement, the facilities would be designated ST-Elevated Myocardial Infarction receiving centers. The designation aims to ensure that certain heart attack patients can obtain rapid access to cardiac catheterization at the facilities.

Dan Burch -- the county's emergency medical services administrator -- said to receive the designation, the hospitals had to be licensed for a 24-hour cardiac catheterization laboratory and cardiovascular surgery capabilities and have a cardiologist on call 24 hours each day, among other criteria (Goldeen, Stockton Record, 4/9).  

UC-San Diego Jacobs Medical Center

On Monday, UC-San Diego officials broke ground on the new $664 million Jacobs Medical Center, U-T San Diego reports.

The first three floors of the 10-story facility will be connected to UC-San Diego's $227 million Sulpizio Cardiovascular Center, which opened last year (Lavelle, U-T San Diego, 4/9).

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