News Briefs

BDP/ The Associated Press
Thursday August 30, 2001

Patients rate hospital stays statewide 


WALNUT CREEK — A survey of more than 21,000 patients, who had spent at least one night in one of 113 California hospitals from August through October 2000, measured their perceptions of how well caretakers handled their pain, education and emotional support. 

Of the 17 East Bay’s hospitals in the survey, only ValleyCare in the Tri Valley and the San Ramon medical center scored above the survey’s average. 

Kaiser hospitals in Hayward, Oakland and Walnut Creek, as well as Contra Costa County Regional Medical Center in Martinez, scored below average. Alta Bates Medical Center, Eden Medical Center, Kaiser’s Richmond hospital, St. Rose Hospital, Summit Medical Center, Sutter Delta Medical Center and the Veterans Affairs Northern California Health Care System received average scores. 

Only the opinions of surgery, maternity, and general medical patients were assessed. The results are to be posted on the Internet at www.chcj.org. 

The survey was conducted by the California Institute for Health Systems Performance and the California HealthCare Foundation. Hospitals participating in the survey did so voluntarily and represented about 30 percent of California’s acute care hospitals. 


Residents want more time to speak out on cleanup 


CONCORD — Residents asked the Environmental Protection Agency and the Navy on Tuesday night to allow more time for public comment on a federal pact signed recently by the two agencies for the cleanup of the Concord Naval Weapons Station. 

The agreement sets up a regulatory framework and enforceable deadlines for the Superfund cleanup of the 13,000-acre site. By law, the pact can only be finalized when a 30-day public comment period ends. 

Some of the work includes capping an old landfill, cleaning ground water and removing contaminated soil. The property’s soil, sediments and surface water are contaminated with pesticides and heavy metals such as zinc, arsenic, copper and lead, according to the EPA. The weapons station was designated a Superfund site in 1994. 

EPA officials said they would grant a 30-day extension on the public comment period – originally scheduled to end Sept. 10 – but added that such an action only delays the EPA’s ability to light a fire under the Navy’s cleanup efforts. 

The Navy has been cleaning up the site since 1980. The work has cost $49 million, according to the Navy. About $10 million to $15 million more is needed to complete and monitor future cleanup of the site. 


School board members recalled in vote 


EMERYVILLE — Residents voted Tuesday night to recall three school board members who presided over the debt-ridden district before the state stepped in this month. 

Two leaders of the recall initiative, Art Hoff and Forrest Gee, as well as social worker Valerie Patton, will replace Emery Unified School trustees Barbara Krzywicki, Gladys Vance and Donald Dorsey, according to the Alameda County registrar of voters. 

Although the results will not be certified until Tuesday, each of the trustees was recalled by at least 85 percent of the voters who turned out. 

The newly elected trustees will serve in an advisory role to a state-appointed administrator overseeing the state’s $2.3 million bailout of the district. 

With only 900 students enrolled in kindergarten through 12th grade, Emery Unified is one of the smallest school districts in California.