Report: Riverside County Hospital Bed Shortage Could Worsen
A shortage of hospital beds in southwestern Riverside County could increase without hospital construction to meet the county's expected population growth, according to a report presented on Monday at the Regional Medical Facility Symposium, the Riverside Press-Enterprise reports.
Currently, there are four hospitals in the county, with 1.05 hospital beds per 1,000 people, compared to the state average of 2.2 beds per 1,000 people, Eric Frykman, Riverside County's health officer, said.
The county population is expected to increase from about 561,000 in 2005 to 955,000 by 2020, according to the report. By that time, a proposed hospital in Temecula and the planned expansions of Inland Valley and Rancho Springs medical centers could increase the number of beds to 1.13 per 1,000 people if no existing hospitals close, Frykman said.
Frykman added that if the new hospital beds are not constructed, the ratio could fall to 0.78 hospital beds per 1,000 people. The addition of each hospital bed costs about $1 million, he said.
Temecula council member Mike Naggar called on local officials to "fast track" the approval process for hospitals.
Frykman also noted that the number of physicians and nurses per 100,000 people in Riverside County is less than half of the statewide ratio.
County Supervisors Jeff Stone and Bob Buster said they are hopeful that the new medical school planned at UC-Riverside would attract doctors to stay in the area (Horseman, Riverside Press-Enterprise, 12/11).