SEATTLE-Providence Health System has re-signed with hospital cooperative VHA in a three-year agreement that departs from the traditional group-purchasing model of the last five years to establish a customized arrangement with VHA and its supply company, Novation. The new venture, which will be jointly managed, is called ProvSource. Under the agreement, VHA and Novation will dedicate full-time staff to the partnership, including employees who will work on-site with Providence. Officials said customized contracting-a growing trend in group purchasing-would allow Providence to continue to benefit from the purchasing power of VHA while gaining the flexibility to tailor contracts to the system's needs. Providence purchases approximately $500 million in supplies annually, about $317 million of that through VHA agreements.
BREA, Calif.-A temporary nurse with a criminal record was arrested on suspicion of sexually assaulting two mentally disabled patients in the emergency room of Brea (Calif.) Community Hospital. Michael Thomas Riddick, 47, surrendered to authorities last month after being investigated for allegedly fondling the women, aged 51 and 63, during two separate visits to the hospital in February. Riddick, a licensed vocational nurse who was employed with Irvine, Calif.-based Med Staff, has seven prior felony robbery convictions dating back to 1983. Brea Community Nursing Director Eileen Klassen said she knew nothing of the convictions. "That was up to the registry to do the background check," she said. Riddick has pleaded not guilty to two felony counts of sexual battery on an institutionalized victim, two felony counts of a lewd act upon a dependent adult by a caretaker, and misdemeanor elder-abuse charges. If convicted, Riddick could face 25 years to life in prison under California's "three-strikes" law. For a related article, see May 31, p. 8.
DENVER-Denver Health Medical Center, a 35-year-old safety net facility, formerly city-owned Denver General, announced a $148 million expansion to be financed through a bond issue approved by voters in November 2003. Phase one of the project, completed in May 2003, was a $102 million addition housing an intensive-care unit, operating rooms and outpatient clinics. Phase two, to be completed in 2006, will produce a 204,000-square-foot inpatient facility, including a redesigned pavilion for women and children. Denver Health said it delivers 3,600 babies annually, but its current facility is designed to accommodate only 1,800 births per year. Phase three, which is included in the $148 million financing, calls for the construction of a 74,000-square-foot ambulatory-care facility. Major renovations have been under way at Denver Health since the hospital separated from the city in 1997.