Major Hospital Construction Under Way in Sacramento Area
The four largest hospital groups in the Sacramento area are all beginning new construction projects to rebuild old facilities, meet state earthquake safety requirements and add new hospital beds to accommodate a projected population increase, the Sacramento Bee reports.
UC-Davis Health System, Sutter Health, Catholic Healthcare West and Kaiser Permanente are undergoing construction projects that will add a combined 3.5 million square feet to their facilities and cost about $2.6 billion. The projects are expected to add as many as 2,000 health care jobs by 2013 and already have created a boom in construction employment, the Bee reports.
The projects will include:
- More than 800 new hospital beds, including at least 90 emergency department beds and 80 beds for children and infants in intensive care units;
- A 40-bed acute rehabilitation center;
- A telemedicine center; and
- A stem cell research center.
Scott Seamons, regional vice president for the Northern California Hospital Council, said none of the projects is excessive, needlessly duplicative or unsustainable over the long term.
However, Maribeth Shannon of the California HealthCare Foundation added that large cuts in reimbursement rates from federal and state health insurance programs could make it hard for the hospitals to justify these new investments.
In addition, Chris Ohman, CEO of the California Association of Health Plans, asked, "What are we getting for all this money in terms of the quality of care and its cost?" He said, "The big deal is, we don't really know" (Griffith, Sacramento Bee, 5/4).