SAN RAFAEL, Calif.—A judge has ordered Marin General Hospital in Greenbrae, Calif., to arbitrate financial differences with Sutter Health, a hospital chain based in Sacramento. Marin Healthcare District decided to split with not-for-profit Sutter Health in 2006. The district re-assumed control of Marin General in June. But the two sides have been at odds over hospital funding. In August, the hospital filed a lawsuit against Sutter Health alleging that the system had improperly funneled $120 million out of the hospital over the prior four years. Now, a Marin County Superior Court judge has ruled that the two parties must agree to arbitration over the funding dispute. “We appreciate that the court ordered the matter to arbitration because we have always believed that the 2006 agreement requires that both parties arbitrate differences,” Bill Gleeson, spokesman for Sutter Health, said in a news release. Pete Hillan, spokesman for Marin General, said hospital officials are disappointed in the ruling and are considering all their legal options. He added that the ruling “doesn't change the merits of the case, that Sutter needs to give the money back.”
Regionals: Marin, Sutter ordered into arbitration, and other news
SACRAMENTO, Calif.—In his final days in office, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger appointed two key allies to oversee the new California Health Benefit Exchange, a clearinghouse where individuals and small businesses will be able to buy health insurance starting in 2014. California was the first state to enact legislation creating an insurance exchange under the federal health reform law. Schwarzenegger named his outgoing secretary of the Health and Human Services Agency, Kim Belshe, to the five-member exchange board. Belshe, 51, has served as state HHS secretary since 2003, when Schwarzenegger took office. Susan Kennedy, Schwarzenegger's chief of staff since 2006, was also named to the exchange board. Kennedy, 50, advised the governor in his failed bid to reform healthcare in California. Both appointments were effective Jan. 1 and don't require Senate confirmation. According to the state law enacting the exchange, the California Assembly and Senate also will each choose a board member. The new state HHS secretary, Diana Dooley, will round out the panel. Dooley, former CEO of the California Children's Hospital Association, was tapped to succeed Belshe by incoming Gov. Jerry Brown. Brown, a Democrat, took office last week.
KEALAKEKUA, Hawaii—Kaiser Permanente has opened a new clinic in South Kona, on the island of Hawaii. The new 3,435-square-foot facility is located along the Mamalahoa Highway, on the island's west side. The clinic will initially provide primary care to adults during weekdays. Kaiser Permanente has three other clinics on the island, in Waimea, Hilo and Kona. “We are pleased to provide increased access to healthcare services and convenience for our members in South Kona,” said Dr. Daryl Kurozawa, general surgeon and Kaiser Permanente's associate medical director of the neighbor islands, in a statement. “Combined with our existing Kona Clinic in the Hualalai Medical Center, the community in the area will be well-served.” Kaiser Permanente has about 223,000 members in Hawaii.
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