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Desperate Hospitals – February 2009 Update

Posted Feb 19 2009 5:29pm

Here is this months listings of hospitals either laying off, closing selling, bankruptcy, or cutting back in order to survive.  This is from news around the web this month.   If  I missed any, please feel free to let me know.  The related reading has additional posts from the recent past and a few other individual stories.  BD 

A couple of the most desperate situations are the potential closings of 2 hospitals in Queens, NY and also the poor folks in the Pittsburgh area who’s paychecks bounced and still have not been paid for their last couple of weeks.  BD

  In Burbank, CA  

Burbank's Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center said Tuesday that it had laid off 95 of its 2,517 employees and closed four hospital programs as a result of rising costs at a time of economic turmoil.
Providence spokeswoman Patricia Aidem said the cutbacks marked the end for units offering urgent care, foot care for diabetics and treatment for workplace injuries -- as well as a transitional-care unit, which prepares patients for care elsewhere.

  In Galveston, Texas

GALVESTON, Texas — Reconstruction work has been halted for the foreseeable future at Shriners Hospital for Children-Galveston, which has been closed since Hurricane Ike caused significant damage, an official with Shriners Hospitals for Children said Tuesday.

"We had a significant amount of damage and can't afford to repair it," Ralph Semb, president and CEO of Tampa, Fla.-based Shriners Hospitals for Children, told The Associated Press.

  In Michigan, Community Hospitals in Trouble

Report: Michigan community hospitals on brink of fiscal crisis

Rising levels of Medicaid caseloads, uncompensated care and patients who lack health insurance of any kind are adding up to financial losses and pushing Michigan's community hospitals toward a fiscal crisis, a new industry association report concludes.

The state's 144 community hospitals swung to an average total operating margin of negative 2.9 percent during the third quarter of 2008, the Michigan Health & Hospital Association found in its report, Michigan's Health Care Safety Net: In Jeopardy, released today.

The report also found that hospitals absorbed a record level of uncompensated care in 2008, surpassing the prior year's record of more than $2 billion in bad debt, charity care and losses on care provided to Medicare- and Medicaid-insured patients.

In Laguna Beach, CA

St. Joseph Health System has reached a $35.7 million deal to purchase South Coast Medical Center in Laguna Beach, officials announced Friday.

In November, after multiple efforts to sell the money-losing hospital, owner Adventist Health announced that St. Joseph was the preferred bidder. The news relieved residents who feared the hospital might shut down. But the deal stalled, with Adventist Health saying in January that terms were still being worked out after a delay from the holidays.

Peter Bastone, chief executive of Mission Hospital, which is part of St. Joseph Health, said the purchase decision was not easy given the economic climate.

"With this purchase, we will be able to serve more patients in need and, through outreach activities, improve quality of life in the South Orange County coastal communities," Bastone wrote in an update to city officials Friday.

Bastone said the emergency room will stay open and a new name will be selected for the 208-bed hospital. It will be licensed under Mission Hospital.

The purchase must be approved by the state Attorney General's Office, which oversees the sale of nonprofit hospitals. Bastone said that process takes roughly three months.

In Baton Rouge, Louisiana

BATON ROUGE, La. -- The state health department, Iberville Parish and other creditors want the federal bankruptcy court in Baton Rouge to take over a struggling southeast Louisiana hospital.

State officials say Judge Douglas Dodd called a hearing Monday on whether to appoint a Chapter 11 trustee for 80-bed River West Medical Center in Plaquemine.

Chief Executive Officer Bryan Bogle did not immediately return a call Saturday to his home. The state advanced $150,000 last month, when River West was unable to cover paychecks for 65 of its 250 workers. Bogle blamed the economy and an insurance dispute after Hurricane Gustav closed inpatient services for 45 days.

Earlier this week, Bogle said he was again short of payroll cash, but hoped the parent corporation, Shiloh Health Services, would cover it.

In Queens, New York

Despite efforts by hospital owners and state representatives to engineer a bailout for Caritas, and a groundswell of support by employees and community members, the Queens-based hospital corporation will file for bankruptcy and expects to shutter Mary Immaculate and St. John's Queens hospitals.

After a week of frantic negotiations failed, the cash-strapped St. John’s Hospital in Elmhurst and Mary Immaculate Hospital in Jamaica announced they would file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and close down over the next few weeks.
The board of Caritas, the company that runs the two hospitals, voted Thursday to seek protection from its creditors under Chapter 11 and also voted to file a closure plan at the direction of the state Department of Health.
Vincent Arcuri, a board member at Caritas, said the state did not come through with the $36 million the hospitals needed to implement a restructuring plan.
“It appears that all of the legislators and all the local elected officials were waiting for the Washington stimulus package,” he said. “But even under those circumstances, that money couldn’t find its way through probably before April or May.”

In Houston, Texas

HOUSTON -- With Shriners Burn Hospital closing, there is no longer a major burn center for children in the Houston area.

"These children take a lot of time, effort, nursing care, sedations, medications, and dressings. They are resource intense, and no, we don't have the capacity to do that right now," said Dr. Kevin Lally, who works at the hospital.

In Minnesota

“Minnesota hospitals are in a dismal financial situation,’’ MHA President Lawrence Massa testified on Tuesday at a hearing of the House’s Health and Human Services Finance and the Health Policy committees. He noted a recent association survey found net income for hospitals falling from a positive 4.8 percent in the third quarter of 2007 to a negative 2.5 percent for the same quarter in 2008.

Massa contended that if state lawmakers adopt Pawlenty’s plan, the total impact, including federal matching dollars, could result in as much as $691 million in cuts to state hospitals. That “would diminish the care we’re able to give our patients,” he said. “The reductions would result in hospitals reducing many of the other services we have historically provided to our communities for no compensation.

“Many community services like free blood pressure testing at health fairs and even education and training of our future care givers could simply disappear.

In Somerville, MA

Representatives from the Cambridge Health Alliance gathered on Tuesday night to outline its proposed service cutbacks for community members and listen to their concerns.
The meeting came on the heels of an announcement that, due to cuts in state funding, CHA will eliminate 300 jobs across the network and will consolidate and eliminate some services. Major changes in Somerville include the elimination of the Addictions and Detox Unit and inpatient services at Somerville Hospital.
Other changes include the closure of six primary care centers, including two in Somerville.

In Los Angeles, CA

Meanwhile, the board of supervisors planned to sell Rancho Los Amigos hospital as part of a cost-cutting plan to privatize or close clinics and shift primary care over to privately run nonprofit clinics.
But the board gave Rancho a reprieve earlier this month based on a report from county CEO William Fujioka that predicted the proposed federal economic stimulus package could provide the funding to save it.
The medical center's future remains uncertain.
Stress on the county's already fragile healthcare system increased in 2006 when King-Harbor Hospital in Willowbrook was shut down.

In Brownsville, TX

Thursday after failing to make payroll the week before, was losing $550,000 a month when it defaulted on a $3 million line of credit, according to a federal lawsuit filed by a Texas financing company.
The hospital notified the state health department that it was closing on Thursday afternoon. Presidential Healthcare Credit Corp. of San Antonio, filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court late Friday against Brownsville Health Services Corp., which ran the hospital.
Presidential Healthcare's lawsuit is based on a January audit of the hospital's books. Among other things, the audit determined Brownsville Health Services was "not a viable operation" and was losing about $550,000 a month, and that the company's "financial reporting is nonexistent."

In Cambridge, MA

The economic crisis is wreaking havoc on homeowners, jobs, education, and social services across the country. Now, in Massachusetts, vital health care services are under attack from budget cuts carried out by the Democratic Party governor Deval Patrick. As a result, Cambridge Health Alliance (CHA), one of the largest health care providers in the Boston area, recently announced plans for deep cuts, closures, and layoffs. On Wednesday, January 28, the administration at the Cambridge Health Alliance which includes Cambridge, Somerville and Whidden Memorial (Everett, MA) Hospitals, announced massive cuts and layoffs which will affect the communities and workers in these cities.

Cambridge Hospital will shut its inpatient pediatric floor, its Step Down unit and a large adult inpatient Psychiatric unit called “Cahill 3.”

Related Reading:

Desperate Hospitals – Updated November 21, 2008
Desperate Hospitals: Chicago Hospital Hangs For Sale Sign
Desperate Hospitals - Hawaii- What is happening to our Hospital System?
Desperate Hospitals - August 29 (Continued)

Southwest Atlanta Hospital closes for the 3rd time in 4 years

More Desperate Hospitals - Miami, FL and Cape Cod, MA
A hopeful prognosis - Desperate "California" Hospitals
Desperate Hospitals - Century City Doctors Hospital (Los Angeles) begins shutting down, others file Chapter 11 to reorganize
New New Jersey law to pinpoint financially troubled hospitals - "Desperate Hospitals"
Bankruptcy Bug Hits Hospitals – Desperate Hospitals
Desperate Hospitals – September 2008
Desperate Hospitals: Hospitals in Hands of Voters - Arkansas
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