SULLIVAN HEALTHCOL. 25 inches/1stjc/mark2nd

UCLA officials have presented to the University of California Board of Regents a plan to build $1.1 billion worth of new and reconstructed medical facilities at the school's Westwood and Santa Monica facilities.

The project would include the building of a new 500-bed UCLA Medical Center to be completed by 2003 and new inpatient and outpatient facilities at Santa Monica to be finished in 2002. The university's medical dental, nursing and public health schools would also be renovated under the plan.

Both the UCLA Center for Health Sciences and the Santa Monica-UCLA Medical Center suffered structural damage in the 1994 Northridge earthquake and the school has spent tens of millions of dollars on repairs that would largely be scrapped under the new plan.

The school says it studied the cost of bringing the facilities up to seismic codes and determined that it would cost more than building a new hospital.

The UC Regents will vote initially on the project in the spring, according to UCLA Center for Health Sciences Spokeswoman Linda King, and it must receive regent approval at multiple steps along the way.

"It's a full-on long-term approval process," King said. "They'll be approving each step along the way."

Kaiser consolidation

On the same day that it announced record growth in 1996 to the tune of about 187,000 new Southern California HMO members Kaiser Permanente said it will consolidate its northern and southern operation in the state into a single division.

Kaiser Foundation Health Plan and Hospitals will combine its traditionally dissected operations under Richard Barnaby, the organization's president and chief operating officer, while a permanent division president is recruited.

The consolidation caps five years of reorganization efforts at Kaiser aimed at cost savings and providing more uniform service throughout California, according Barnaby.

"Further consolidating statewide business operations enables us to more fully capitalize on the region's scale, size, and expertise by developing a single, unified strategy," Barnaby said in a prepared statement.

Jim Lott, vice president for policy at the Healthcare Association of Southern California, said the move will give Kaiser greater leverage in negotiating with group purchasing organizations like the Pacific Business Group on Health and the California Public Employees Retirement System.

"Each (Kaiser division) has been operating independently in negotiations with employers and purchasing groups. This consolidates the entire state into one negotiating unit which will do better for them in the long haul," Lott said.


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