MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif.
— El Camino Hospital filed a lawsuit seeking to overturn a voter-approved measure that limits what the public hospital could pay its executives. Officials from the two-campus Silicon Valley hospital filed a complaint in Santa Clara Superior Court in San Jose. The hospital and the six executives whose pay would be affected if the measure goes into effect want the court to declare the initiative invalid, and they're seeking a preliminary injunction to block the cap pending a ruling. Voters in the El Camino Hospital District approved Measure M in November, with 51.9% voting in favor. The measure limits hospital executive pay to twice what the California governor earns. Gov. Jerry Brown's salary is $165,000, meaning the measure would cap pay at $330,000 annually. El Camino President and CEO Tomi Ryba received $695,000 in base pay last year, and the board approved a performance bonus of $137,815 in November. As defendants in the lawsuit, the hospital names Kary Lynch, a hospital psychiatric tech, and Laura Huston, a certified nurse assistant, describing them as “the official proponents” of the measure. Both are members of Service Employees Union International-United Healthcare Workers West. An SEIU-UHW spokesman couldn't immediately be reached for comment. The hospital argues in the lawsuit that the pay limit hampers its ability to attract talented executives, and that the measure is invalid because the taxpayer-funded hospital district contributes no resources to executive compensation and has no discretion over what executives are paid, which is determined by the board of a legally separate not-for-profit corporation.
—Centura Health has established an integrated network of 198 physicians in 13 Colorado communities that it said will move beyond “traditional reactive sick care” to a consumer-centric model that advances wellness services with a focus on keeping people healthy. Centura, a partnership between Adventist Health System and Catholic Health Initiatives, refers to the communities in the network as “health neighborhoods,” built on physician-led teams providing convenient, evidence-based care. The network will include 32 primary-care practices as well as 96 primary-care doctors and 102 specialty physicians. Plans call for assigning “health coordinators” to individuals to ensure they understand and follow physician recommendations and for monitoring patients to detect and diagnose conditions that could become chronic, according to a news release. Physicians will also report quality measures related to hypertension, tobacco use and body-mass index. The program calls for later expanding those to include measures on diabetes, blood-pressure management, breast-cancer screening, cervical-cancer screening and colorectal screening. Access to the new model is still limited, but implementation has begun and it's available to the 20,000 employees and family members covered by the Centura benefit plan. Elsewhere, a three-year nationwide “medical neighborhood” demonstration project involving 15 healthcare organizations is just getting rolling. A $20.8 million grant from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation is financing the project, which seeks $53.8 million in savings by identifying patients at high risk for hospitalization and coordinating their care so their conditions will not require admission.