Executive Summary: Hospitals

There was a lot going on last year in the local hospital scene, although it would be hard to tell simply by looking at the ranking of the largest facilities, as measured by the number of licensed beds.

The Daniel Freeman hospitals were purchased by Tenet Healthcare Corp. and three local Catholic Healthcare West hospitals broke away to join the Daughters of Charity Health System.

However, little changed in the size rankings, even though it appears that Northridge Hospital Medical Center added 209 licensed beds to jump from No. 21 to No. 8 on our list. In fact, to better reflect its size, the hospital combined its campuses this year in responding to the survey.

There were a few actual changes in the numbers of licensed beds. Most notably, Glendale Adventist Medical Center took 36 beds out of service to make way for other uses.

Chidren's Hospital made its first appearance on the list this year at No. 25

Laurence Darmiento

The Pacesetter

L.A. County-USC Medical Center

Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center once again leads the list of the largest hospitals in the county, as measured by the number of licensed beds. Its 1,417 beds, however, is a deceptive number and the giant, 69-year-old facility will not remain atop the heap much longer.

The hospital was badly damaged in the Northridge earthquake and currently only about half its licensed beds are in service. The temblor prompted an $818 million reconstruction project that is expected to finish up in October 2006. The hospital is being replaced with a smaller, modern hospital that will feature 600 beds and a greater emphasis on outpatient care. It's part of the county's efforts to move treatment from the expensive in-patient setting to the more efficient ambulatory setting.

The replacement facility is being built adjacent to the existing hospital's south side. Last year, demolition began on the site, which included a psychiatric building, a pediatric pavilion and a parking structure.

When construction is finished, the county will have a new facility sitting next to the existing hospital, which will be mothballed but preserved because of its historic value. So far it has not yet been decided what function the old building may serve.

Laurence Darmiento

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