WESTLAKE VILLAGE: Campaigns for New Hospital Continue
While Westlake Village has been without a full-service hospital facility for three years, securing a new facility for the community depends upon the success of three separate movements. The Ventura County Star reports that Westlake residents have had to travel at least 20 minutes to Los Robles Medical Center for treatment ever since Columbia/HCA Healthcare Corp. closed Westlake Medical Center in 1996, after purchasing it the year before. Prior solutions have "foundered," including using a portion of Los Angeles County's tobacco settlement winnings. Westlake City Council member James Henderson said he was promised a meeting with Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky to discuss the request. In the meantime, citizens and council members have organized three campaigns to provide Westlake with a facility. Council members Iraj Broomand and Mark Rutherford have formed an ad hoc council committee to find potential land sites, which would cost $15 million. Construction will add $60 million to the total. At the same time, "longtime residents" Alan and Jo Ann Horwitz are discovering "it's damn difficult to get a hospital going." Believing that people, not government, "solve people's problems," the Horwitzes have met with other residents, council candidate Chris Mann and health care organizations about the possibility of a partnership. Additionally, Alan Horwitz recommended the council take the former Westlake Medical Center "by eminent domain" and ask voters "to approve a bond measure to pay for the property and then turn the facility over to a provider." Broomand disagrees with the Horwitzes' recommendation, saying "it would be unfair to ask Westlake Village taxpayers to shoulder the financial burden of a regional hospital." In addition to his pursuits through the council, Broomand started working on the hospital issue while campaigning in 1997, by meeting with "health care providers to raise interest and inquire about state and federal funding to buy property for a hospital" (Glick, 9/19).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.