California Hospitals Undergo Construction to Meet Seismic Standards, Update Facilities
California newspapers this week examine hospitals' recent and planned construction projects to meet updated government seismic safety standards and keep pace with new technology and "changes in health care practices." Any hospital construction requires hospital officials to "gamble hundreds of millions of dollars" on future demand for services and other hospital trends, the Los Angeles Times reports. "It's a challenging environment because medicine is changing so quickly and technology is changing so quickly," John Law, building committee chair at Los Angeles-based Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, said. Some of the expansions include:
- Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles has begun a $620 million construction project that will include seismic retrofits and four new buildings, including a 150-bed hospital tower and the $83 million S. Mark Taper Foundation Imaging Center & Department. The improvements, which will take more than a decade to complete, will increase the hospital's capacity to more than 1,000 beds and the number of surgeries the center can perform from 18,000 to 30,000 per year.
- Kaiser Permanente's Los Angeles Medical Center is undergoing a $500 million construction project that will reduce the number of inpatient beds to about 450 and increase the number of operating and delivery rooms. The project, which should be finished by the end of the year, includes a new outpatient surgery facility.
- The University of California-Los Angeles has started building a new $800 million facility that is scheduled to open in 2005. The design, which includes input from patients and staff, will include larger windows, more single-patient rooms and daybeds for guests (Sanchez, Los Angeles Times, 6/21).
- Four healthcare systems in the Sacramento area -- Sutter Health, Catholic Healthcare West, Kaiser Permanente and the University of California-Davis -- plan to add as many as 200 hospital beds over the next seven years, the Sacramento Business Journal reports. The construction, which will cost more than $1 billion combined, will bring the total number of beds in the four counties surrounding Sacramento to nearly 3,600. A "significant portion" of the construction expenses also will go toward seismic retrofitting (Robertson, Sacramento Business Journal, 6/14).