UC Irvine plans to build a $ 1 billion medical complex adjoining campus with a 144-bed hospital – Orange County Register
UC Regents approved a $ 1 billion medical complex with a 144-bed hospital adjacent to UC Irvine’s main campus on Thursday, Jan. 21.
Your approval paves the way for the university and its medical division to launch the UC Irvine Medical Center Irvine-Newport, a multi-building complex that will provide specialized treatments in oncology, neuroscience, child health, and more. It won’t replace the large medical center that the University of Orange runs.
The UCI project is the third major medical development announced in Irvine in the past two years. In 2019, the Duarte-based City of Hope announced a special cancer hospital with clinical research and outpatient facilities next to Orange County Great Park. Hoag Hospital received approval last year to more than double the number of patient beds on its Irvine campus on Sand Canyon Avenue.
UCI’s new medical center will be built on 202 acres adjacent to the North Campus facilities across University Drive from the central campus. A portion of the property is being reserved as a garden and natural area in the San Joaquin Marsh Reserve.
College officials said more patient capacity is needed locally, as is targeted treatment for cancer and other health problems, as some Orange County residents are now moving elsewhere for treatment.
The existing hospital at the UCI Medical Center in Orange is “essentially constantly full” and has limited inpatient space, said Chad Lefteris, CEO of UCI Health. In addition to 144 beds, the new Irvine Hospital will also have an emergency room.
He said the hospital is “full service” but will also have areas it specializes in, such as neurosurgery, orthopedics and digestive health. The development will also include a child health center, doctor’s offices and emergency care, as well as access to training for UCI students and clinical trials for patients.
“The new medical center will be a hub for discovery, teaching and healing,” said UCI Vice Chancellor for Health, Dr. Steve Goldstein.
“This is necessary so that we can deliver world-class home care to Orange County,” he said.
In the county, “we also have a real challenge in providing health care for everyone (regardless of income) and that’s something UCI is doing,” he said.
While the coronavirus pandemic has drawn attention to a current shortage of intensive care beds in California, the exact number of hospital beds a region will need is difficult to calculate and can change, said Kristof Stremikis, director of market analysis at the California Health Care Foundation .
In the long term, investments should be made in training those in need of care, he said.
“The problems we face in relation to space are nothing compared to the problems we face in relation to the workforce,” Stremikis said. “We definitely don’t have enough basic providers. In some regions we definitely do not have enough Allied Healthcare Professionals. “
This is where UCI can have an advantage. Lefteris said they have to hire for some specialty positions that UCI doesn’t have programs for, but university officials hope to “develop our own” for many of the 2,000 to 3,000 permanent jobs the medical complex will support.
The university recently expanded its health sciences offering, which includes programs in medicine, nursing, pharmacy, and public health.
Lucy Dunn, CEO of Orange County Business Council, said she was pleased with the prospect of skilled jobs that will come with UCI’s new medical center.
“Not just jobs, but high-paying jobs,” she added. “In a county that is a high-cost county, it is crucial to have high-paying jobs to keep well-trained workers and young families here.”
Irvine Mayor Farrah Khan said she looked forward to not only additional health care opportunities for local residents and new jobs, but also education opportunities for UCI students in health disciplines.
“It’s great to have additional benefits for the community to participate in,” she said.
City officials have some concerns about traffic, construction noise, and the increase in the workload of city police and fire departments, but UCI officials were more than willing to discuss these issues, she said.
Construction of the multi-building complex and the multi-storey car park could begin in the next few months. The center for advanced care, including child health, doctor’s offices, and emergency care, could be ready in 2022. The outpatient care center will open in 2023 and the hospital is expected to be completed in 2025.
“No other health system in the county is run by one of the world’s finest academic research institutions: the University of California,” said Lefteris. “Our goal is to make this expertise readily available to everyone in Orange County.”
*** UC Irvine’s new medical center
A recently approved plan for a new medical complex on the northern edge of the UCI campus is to be drawn up over the next few years. Here are some of the project highlights.
Name: UCI Medical Center Irvine-Newport
Location: Close to Birch Street and Jamboree Road
Cost: $ 1 billion
Features: A hospital with up to 144 beds, specialized services in oncology and neuroscience, child health, doctor’s offices and emergency care
Timetable: Construction work could begin in the next few months and open in the next few years. The hospital is expected to be ready in 2025.