SAN FRANCISCO— Hospitals in California will now be required to report surgical-site infection rates associated with 26 procedures after a San Francisco judge upheld reporting requirements outlined by the state’s public health department in April. Under the requirements, hospitals must submit infection reports to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Healthcare Safety Network, a secure online surveillance system for tracking infections. The list of operative procedures, which includes appendix surgery, kidney transplant and thoracic surgery, was sent to hospitals in an April 27 letter from the California Department of Public Health. State officials contend that the list of specific procedures was in keeping with a 2008 law that required hospitals to report infection rates associated with cardiac, gastrointestinal and orthopedic surgeries, as well as operations within an organ or deep inside the body. The law requires the state to begin making such infection data available to the public beginning in January 2012. But the California Hospital Association filed a lawsuit in May, arguing the new, more detailed requirements were outside of the parameters of the 2008 law and would be burdensome for hospitals. San Francisco Superior Court Judge Peter Busch denied the association’s request for an injunction. He also ruled that three of the surgeries on the department’s list—spinal fusion, cesarean section and pacemaker surgery—may not be included for reporting, pending further review. Finally, he blocked an additional requirement that would have required hospitals to submit infection data monthly instead of quarterly.
HONOLULU— Hawaii Medical Center has filed for bankruptcy again, transferring the two Oahu hospitals it operates back to the previous owner. The company announced last month that it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and submitted its reorganization plan to the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Honolulu. The previous bankruptcy protection filing was in August 2008 after buying the Liliha and Ewa hospitals from St. Francis Healthcare System of Hawaii for nearly $68 million in January 2007. “Ultimately, it came down to simply not having sufficient capital for HMC to turn the corner,” said Dr. Collin Dang, chairman of the board of directors. “In order to increase patient census and keep pace with new government requirements, we needed to make infrastructure improvements. Not being part of a larger healthcare system makes it difficult for us to continue as a stand-alone operation.” St. Francis has agreed to exchange the $40 million debt for the hospitals’ assets. “St. Francis is prepared to step forward to resume ownership of the hospitals,” said Jerry Correa, St. Francis Healthcare System’s chief operating officer. “St. Francis fully supports HMC’s reorganization plan and is focused on making this transition as seamless as possible for the community.” The reorganization plan needs U.S. Bankruptcy Court approval.