hospitals

Jeffrey Hess / Valley Public Radio

As COVID-19 caseloads climb throughout the state and country, many counties in our region, including Tulare and Fresno, are now reporting record-high numbers of patients with COVID-19 in area hospitals.

Kern Medical / Kerry Klein

 

As COVID-19 case counts rise across California, prompting a new wave of business closures from Governor Gavin Newsom, hospitals are slowly approaching their capacities. Although Bakersfield’s Kern Medical is currently nearing as many patients as it can handle, it has plans to expand.

 

Patil Armenian / Community Regional Medical Center

Earlier this spring, even as hospital workers received new guidance for personal protective equipment and learned to strip off their work clothes before entering their homes, Dr. Patil Armenian, an emergency physician at Community Regional Medical Center and UCSF Fresno, told KVPR that the experience felt like “the calm before the storm.”

 

Kerry Klein

The COVID-19 caseload continues to climb across the West, and in recent press calls, health officials in both Fresno and Kern Counties have expressed concern about the ability of hospitals to keep up with rising healthcare needs and potential surges.

Community Hospitals/ UCSF Fresno

If you or a loved one needed to go to the emergency room, how would you pay the bill? If you’re like most Americans, you don’t have huge cash funds socked away for a trip to the ER. Most of us are overwhelmed by the high cost of healthcare—and it doesn’t help that medical costs are often hidden.

Kaweah Delta Health Care District

When we talk about healthcare in this country, one of the most common complaints is the price tag—monthly prescriptions that chip away at retirement savings and emergency procedures that can cause bankruptcy.

With a new law that just went into effect this month, the federal government is trying to tackle at least some of the problem by requiring hospitals to be more transparent about their prices. But will it really keep us better informed? Here to speak about this is Anthony Wright, Executive Director of the health consumer advocacy group Health Access California.

Kerry Klein / Valley Public Radio

About a month ago, in mid-October, Tulare Regional Medical Center was in the middle of a makeover. In less than a week, it was due to reopen, after closing abruptly a year earlier due to mismanagement. New pavement was still drying and workers in forklifts were painting the whole building a uniform beige.

Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio

In our series, Part of the Job, we’ve looked at how California’s health institutions are trying to reduce the rate of violence and harassment against those who work in health care. Working in one of the highest risk areas of a hospital only adds to the challenge.

Saint Agnes Medical Center in Fresno’s emergency department of sees anyone who comes through their doors, and that includes patients “shopping” for opioid prescriptions.

 

Kerry Klein / Valley Public Radio

High-risk childbirths for celebrity mothers like tennis star Serena Williams and performer Beyonce are shining a light on a health story that’s historically flown under the radar: Childbirth is risky for women, particularly women of color. Williams, Beyonce and their babies all survived, but the U.S. does have the one of highest rates of mothers dying in childbirth of any developed country. Alarmingly, that rate rose 65 percent from 2006-2013.

Jeffrey Hess/KVPR

Local hospitals in three San Joaquin Valley communities are making big plans for the future, including an expansion, a reopening, and a bankruptcy filing.

In Kern County, Adventist Health has announced plans to build a new hospital in Northwest Bakersfield. The facility will be built near the intersection of Coffee and Brimhall Road, adjacent to the development known as the Bakersfield Commons. It’s unknown when construction on the new facility might begin. Adventist Health currently operates a hospital in downtown Bakersfield on Chester Avenue.

Laura Tsutsui / Valley Public Radio

 

Over the last few weeks, we’ve been looking at how those who work in health care are at increased risk of workplace violence. In the next installment of our series, Part of the Job, we see that although hospitals in the Valley have preventive measures in place, some are finding that it’s not until an incident happens that a facility knows what more to improve.  

 

Community Medical Centers

Fresno area hospitals are about to get bigger with an expansion planned for Clovis Community Medical Center.

Next month, the hospital will begin construction on 190,000 square feet of new space. It’ll almost double the hospital’s inpatient capacity with 144 new beds—all in private rooms—and it’ll expand the emergency room, pharmacy and labs.

Community Medical Centers CEO Tim Joslin says it’s all in response to the area’s growing medical needs.

A new ranking of patient safety at valley hospitals has been released, with mixed grades. The analysis from the nonprofit group Leapfrog, tracks errors, injuries, accidents, and infections at hospitals nationwide.

In Fresno County, Kaiser received an “A” grade, with Clovis Community and Saint Agnes earning "B’s." Community Regional Medical Center got a “C”. To the north, Madera Community Hospital received an "A" grade and Mercy Medical Center in Merced got a "B."

Veronica Adrover

According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, antibiotic resistant bacteria cause around 2 million infections and 23,000 deaths in the U.S. each year. Researchers across the globe are working to combat this growing problem, and a team at UC Merced recently published a study contributing some much-needed data to the field.

Jeffrey Hess/KVPR

The future of the troubled Tulare Regional Medical Center is in doubt, as the elected board of the public hospital voted last weekend to file for Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection. It's the latest chapter is a years-long fight for control of the hospital, which is run by a private company under contract with the district, Health Care Conglomerate Associates. 

Fresno State University

Leading a healthy life is about much more than being able to see a doctor or get into a hospital. It is also about access to fresh foods, and places to go to exercise like parks. That is a major struggle for  people in many communities in the San Joaquin Valley. A new report from the advocacy organization Building Health Communities and the Central Valley Health Policy Institute at Fresno State says hospitals should be doing more to improve ‘neighborhood health’.

Jeffrey Hess/KVPR

On January 17th, 1994 before the sun even rose, the peace of a Los Angeles morning was broken when the ground began to quake. The 6.6 magnitude quake would soon become known as the Northridge Earthquake.

When the dust settled, 57 people were dead and tens of billions of dollars in damage occurred. Among the most important buildings crippled were 11 hospitals that were either damaged or rendered inoperable because of the quake.

Valley Children's Hospital / Kaweah Delta Healthcare District

Two of the valley's largest hospitals are expanding their partnership to provide pediatric care in Tulare County. Valley Children's Hospital and its associated physicians group will now provide medical staffing for Kaweah Delta's Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and Pediatrics Unit. The move is the latest step in a partnership that goes back decades. It's also led to some controversy among physicians of the Sequoia Pediatrics Group in Visalia, who will no longer have access to the NICU.

HCCA

This month in Tulare, voters are being asked to weigh in on a big issue – whether or not to support a $55 million bond measure for hospital construction at the Tulare Regional Medical Center. The hospital last issued an $85 million bond back in 2005 to fund a new tower for the hospital. But the project went out of control, and construction stopped as the money ran out, with the tower incomplete.

Kern Medical / Kern County

Kern Medical Center has a new name. But that's actually the smallest change the venerable public hospital is set to undertake in the next year. After being run by Kern County for over a century, the hospital - now branded simply as "Kern Medical" - will be spun off later this year to a newly created, independent hospital authority. 

Kern Medical CEO Russell Judd says the new name reflects a new era for the nearly 150 year-old institution. 

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