County Approves Additional $332K for Medical Center Consultants

The allocation was requested by hospital CEO Lowell Johnson, who said further work is required by personnel from the Boston-based Greeley Co. to prepare RCRMC for an upcoming federal quality-assurance "survey."

An aerial view of the 517,000 square-foot complex, located in Moreno Valley.  Photo courtesy:  RBB Architects Inc.
An aerial view of the 517,000 square-foot complex, located in Moreno Valley. Photo courtesy: RBB Architects Inc.
The Board of Supervisors Tuesday approved spending an additional $332,000 to ensure that Riverside County Regional Medical Center is deemed fit for service by the federal government.

The allocation was requested by hospital CEO Lowell Johnson, who said further work is required by personnel from the Boston-based Greeley Co. to prepare RCRMC for an upcoming quality-assurance "survey" by the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services.

"I was hoping we would be able to resolve this relying on our own staff and not have to engage the consultants to make sure we're in total compliance, but we found we're not able to complete it ourselves," Johnson told the board.

The Greeley Co. was awarded a $115,000 contract with the county earlier this month to review RCRMC operations and make certain they meet "conditions of participation" necessary for ongoing federal certification.

Medi-Cal and Medicare patients account for 54 percent of the hospital's business, according to Chicago-based Huron Consulting Inc., which is still in the early stages of a comprehensive 18-month examination of RCRMC's policies and practices.

Huron, which contracted with the county for roughly $26 million, and Johnson, who's earning $1.2 million through this year and most of next, are attempting to turn the medical center around from a deeply indebted county liability to a financially stable asset.

Johnson suggested that without Greeley's assistance, RCRMC risked falling short of points needed during a Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services "validation survey" expected in the next month.

"RCRMC requires ... the Greeley Co. to implement a root cause analysis that will identify underlying issues (and) ensure the hospital has demonstrated effective actions to remediate regulatory deficiencies," according to a document submitted by the hospital's CEO.

He told the board that unresolved problems that Greeley consultants need until May 10 to resolve exist mainly in the hospital's "dietary and food services" department. He did not elaborate, nor did board members question him, though Supervisors John Benoit and Jeff Stone expressed concern that RCRMC- related expenses seemed to be going the wrong way and urged the CEO to move as swiftly as possible to implement cost-saving measures.

The $332,000 was approved as a not-to-exceed amount and will be drawn out of the medical center's reserve account. The board also authorized just under $50,000 for incidental expenses that may be incurred by Greeley personnel while executing their day-to-day duties.

A progress report released by Huron in February indicated the Moreno Valley hospital would be put on a path leading to eventual amortization of its nearly $50 million in annual red ink, thanks to changes in labor usage, lower- cost pharmacy programs and implementation of a host of other operational efficiencies.

— City News Service.

ChrisG March 26, 2014 at 09:25 AM
By the way, we had a loved one who had an extensive stay at this hospital and found the nurses, doctors and facilities were above par. My only complaint would be the hospital pharmacy anyone on Medi-Cal is forced to use. Terrible experience.
Local Guy March 26, 2014 at 10:02 AM
Lol...let me save a bit of money for the County. Too many indigent / Medi-Cal patients, declining Federal and State reimbursements, and costs that cannot be fully offset by revenue. Kaching...I'll write this up and get it the report over to you this afternoon and you can cover my gas and paper costs..a crisp fifty will suffice. Governmental entities will never be run efficiently, but don't stop plowing money into your white elephants on our account. I am sure spending another pile of money to get Nutrition Services streamlined is going to solve your problem. The old corporate/governmental mentality of throw enough money at it until the problem goes away, even if the problem is obviously unsolvable. If the County wants an entity that won't drain the coffers, the only solution is to sell it. All other alternatives are fantasy. Community hospitals have been running on red ink for years and no one wants to tell the public the truth. The kicker is that all this money is being spent to satisfy governmental agencies who can't disburse enough to keep this mess afloat. This situation has been festering for years in all of healthcare (especially California), but Obamacare is just making it worse by inserting government more into the process. Yes, we want cradle-to-grave gold standard healthcare, we don't want to pay for it, we want optimal staffing and pay for staff, and want to keep electing ignorant socialist politicians who would not find success in the real world. We are stupid.
ChrisG March 26, 2014 at 10:20 AM
@local, Beautiful summation. We will end up paying more for mediocre single payer and then those that can afford it will have to purchase supplemental insurance on top of that. Why do they insist on creating a system of haves and have-nots?
James P Hosty March 26, 2014 at 01:53 PM
Since you won't join Alek and me in not paying a cent of tax, then be a collaborator and feed the system. give till it HURTS. ....Traitors.


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