LOS ANGELES: Hospital Giants Battle For Westlake Market
"America's two largest hospital chains" -- Columbia/HCA Healthcare Corp. and Tenet Healthcare Corp. -- "are gearing up for a battle royal in the Westlake area, each scrambling to tap a market left wide open when the Westlake Medical Center closed in 1996," the Los Angeles Times reports. Columbia officials said the Nashville, TN-based chain may reopen the 126-bed Westlake Medical Center, "possibly turning it into a 24-hour urgent-care center or a women's hospital." This "dramatic reversal of the company's earlier decision to close the facility because it wasn't making money" comes on the heels of "a $6 million emergency-room expansion planned for Columbia's Los Robles Regional Medical Center in Thousand Oaks," according to Columbia spokesperson Kris Carraway-Bowman.
Just Down The Street
Meanwhile, Santa Barbara-based Tenet "is planning to open its own urgent-care center less than two miles away from the closed hospital," according to Tenet spokesperson Brandon Edwards. Edwards said Tenet is also planning to secure land "to develop a surgery center and possibly an outpatient service facility." He said the two "would be the precursors for the development of a hospital, if the demand warrants." Officials for both Tenet and Columbia said their expansion plans in the Westlake area were not related to the other's plans. Bill Nolan, associate administrator at Los Robles, said his facility "is finding itself at capacity, and opening a new medical facility in Westlake Village could help lessen the load." Tenet's Edwards said, "We'll go forward with our plans and wait to see what Columbia does. That's their business. This is ours. We'll wait to see how it shakes out" (Heie, 2/27).