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Thursday, Dec 1, 2022
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Hospitals Get Bigger

Hospitals and other health care centers in the San Fernando Valley are making every effort to meet people where they live and work by building new facilities and expanding services. The providers’ infrastructure renovations and expansions reflect an outreach to both new families and an aging population in pockets of the Valley, including Tarzana, Encino, Sherman Oaks and Woodland Hills. “We have an interesting dichotomy,” said Dale Surowitz, chief executive at Providence Cedars-Sinai Tarzana Medical Center, number 9 on the Business Journal’s list of Hospitals ranked by beds. “We tend to see an older population. Many of these people raised their baby boomer children in homes in the Valley, they stay and the children may stay or leave, but those areas tend to be older.” Added and expanded services for cardiology, respiratory therapy and oncology are on the rise for these areas of the Valley, Surowitz said. Providence project Tarzana Reimagined, a $542 million construction project, has been a major focus of the Providence St. Joseph Health system’s Southern California chapter since its announcement in 2016. A new six-story patient building, expanded emergency room, lobby enhancement and additional parking are some of the changes under the plan. It also includes technology updates, a conscious effort to make the new buildings sustainable and a “healing green space.” Enhancements to the current 21-bed neonatal intensive care unit and 33-bed women’s pavilion are also on the list. Funding for the project has been consistent with building progression, Surowitz said, stating that about 40 percent of the total, or roughly $217 million, has been paid. A fundraising effort to collect $150 million is led by the Providence Tarzana Medical Center Foundation. It was unclear how much has been raised on the community side, however, since it’s a number that’s “always moving,” Surowitz said. Contributions from people such as Allison Clago, who formalized a record multimillion-dollar trust donation in January, have been the main source for community contributions. Clago was treated for breast cancer at the Tarzana location – her husband passed peacefully at the center. “Every member of my family has been treated at Tarzana,” Clago, who is also a member of the board of governors for Providence Tarzana Medical Center Foundation, said in a statement. In addition to the large sums involved, challenges for the fundraising effort stem from the Providence Tarzana’s history as a for-profit hospital, and the fact that fundraising tends to be more difficult in the Valley, pinned up against star-studded charitable causes in Hollywood. “We’re building that culture of philanthropy – we’re excited about the road that we’re on,” Surowitz said. “This hospital 10 years ago was not a not-for-profit hospital when Providence acquired it,” According to state data, the Tarzana hospital consistently lost money between 2014 and 2017. The hospital reported a net loss each year; a 2018 update is expected in June. Data from 2017 shows a nearly $11 million loss on $264 million in revenue. Cedars joint venture In March, Providence and Cedars-Sinai announced a joint venture to own and operate the Tarzana hospital. While the joint venture is expected to help fund the construction project, both parties have not specified how much Cedars will contribute. Cedars brought in $3.2 billion in revenue last year. Providence will retain a controlling interest in the hospital with 51 percent ownership, while Cedars will own 49 percent. Both parties are waiting for the deal to be made official with a signature from California Attorney General Xavier Becerra. Joint ventures are not new to Providence. The health system partners with Children’s Hospital Los Angeles at Providence Saint John’s neonatal intensive care unit in Santa Monica, and Providence Tarzana’s pediatrics unit. City of Hope has a presence at Holy Cross Medical Center in Mission Hills and also partners with Providence’s Torrance hospital. “The goal for Providence is to seek partnerships when appropriate to expand the care it provides, close to home,” explained Patricia Aidem, media relations specialist for Providence. “In many instances, Valley parents don’t have to take their sick children to (Children’s Hospital Los Angeles), a difficult commute when you have kids at home. With Cedars at Tarzana, people like my husband, who had a heart transplant five years ago, might be able to get some of his continuing care at Tarzana.” Construction is expected to continue until the Tarzana campus opens in 2022, although the patient tower isn’t expected to be occupied until 2023. Tarzana Reimagined is on time and on budget, according to Lee Kanon Alpert, chairman of the Providence Tarzana Medical Center board of directors. Snags along the way have mostly been due to the availability of state representatives for inspections. “There are not enough people at the state level to do the inspections as quickly as we would like and as quickly as they can be done,” said Alpert. “We have to go through the state and their very qualified, excellent people to have them come down and make certain that everything is being done because it is a health care facility.” So far, the major parking structure is set to be completed in October, and officials expect to break ground on the new patient tower during the third quarter this year. As part of Tarzana Reimagined, the hospital is also undergoing an “extensive retrofit project to meet seismic standards,” according to Aidem. “Just a few miles from the Northridge Quake epicenter, (the hospital) remained completely operational after the highly destructive 1994 quake with very little damage,” she added. Buildings that house general and ancillary services will be retrofitted, while patient buildings are being rebuilt, Surowitz said. Cancer clinic In addition to its existing 11 medical offices in the Valley, Cedars has announced a new office at the Ventana Medical Plaza in Tarzana to bring more oncology specialists to the Valley region, as well as primary care and orthopedics. Cedars is expected to occupy four floors, or 40,000 square feet at the plaza at 18133 Ventura Blvd. Cedars will not own the building, but will occupy most of it, according to the health care system. “We need to get better and better at meeting the consumer’s needs, creating access, meeting the patients with the right care at the right place at the right time. I think you can see that as a national trend,” Dr. John Jenrette, executive vice president of the Cedars-Sinai Medical Network, told the Business Journal. “If you break it down into why patients seek medical care, you can identify that it’s for prevention, for day-to-day, chronic care management – those patients with heart disease or cancer, or diabetes, they’re needing more frequent access and we want to that convenient and easy for them,” Jenrette continued. The office will treat more than 60 types of cancer, according to the Cedars website. “It’s going to be all-encompassing, a one-stop for cancer patients,” said Dr. Yulian Khagi, hematologist and oncologist for Cedars-Sinai, at a health care conference in April. “You’re going to have radiation therapy that can be done there. … There’s going to be an oncology center with a full capacity infusion center, where we’re going to give every kind of chemotherapy.” Imaging services and breast cancer specialists, as well as surgical oncologists, are already open at the location. Medical and radiation oncology, as well as hematology, will be available this summer. By late 2019 or early 2020, orthopedics, primary care and oncological subspecialties will be added. “It’s kind of a flagship program,” said Jenrette. “In cancer treatment you need frequent appointments and visits, so it comes back to being local and being able to serve the community in that way.” Also, in conjunction with the joint venture at Providence Tarzana Medical Center, Cedars plans to expand primary and specialty care services, as well as heart, cancer and women’s services in Tarzana. “It is the intention of the partnership and the joint venture to build out and redevelop some of the Tarzana campus. That includes patient care towers with private rooms, expanding the emergency department, and, in addition, also looking at expanding physician space,” added Jenrette. Henry Mayo tower Meanwhile, Valencia-based Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital is nearing the final stages of construction for a six-story patient tower, with 163,000 total square feet. The $164 million project will boast 119 patient care rooms, 90 surgery beds, 22 pre-and post-partum beds, and seven labor and delivery beds. A blood bank, coffee kiosk and new kitchen are also part of the plan. Henry Mayo ranked No. 12 on the Business Journal’s list of Hospitals starting on page 21. Officials will seek approvals from the state building authority in mid-June, and then activate a 90-day plan to prepare staff for patient care in the new tower. “That 90-day activation plan is all about getting ready for that state inspection, and they come in with a team to inspect every aspect of our care,” said Jonathan Miller, vice president of clinical support and facility planning at the hospital. Miller expects September to be patient move-in month for the new tower. Right now, the biggest challenge Newhall Hospital faces is training its staff, caregivers, physicians and volunteers to validate worker competency prior to the state inspections. “There’s lots of new equipment, there’s new work flows in the building, new paths of travel,” added Miller. “There are a series of exercises and training and mock surveys and scenario testing that we will go through prior to seeking and passing our state licensing inspection.” Prior to even designing the new tower, officials at Henry Mayo knew they wanted to cater to the growing market in the Santa Clarita Valley. Research on industry trends, input from nursing staff and focus groups all pointed to needs surrounding new mothers and families, as well as overall privacy for patients. “We know that our population here is growing, with all of the new homes, housing developments that are planned for this area and the Newhall Ranch development here,” said Miller. “We know that there’s going to be many thousands of families moving into our area, those are young families of child-birthing age, so we know that we have to provide excellent care for labor and delivery services.” In the past, hospital room design emphasized double occupancy – something the hospital is trying to get away from. “Patients are really demanding more of a private environment with amenities and personalized care. A lot of our research was listening to our community tell us that we have to have private rooms – that was just a must,” said Miller. In addition to single occupancy rooms for new mothers, the hospital’s center for women and newborns will also have two dedicated surgical suites for C-sections, and an obstetric emergency department. Expectant women will be able to come and be cared for immediately. Within the year, Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital will seek entitlements from the City of Santa Clarita for an additional 200,000 square feet in building expansions. The hospital is looking to add two towers which will likely be built in phases while “retiring” old patient towers, Miller said. Retirement for the 40-year-old towers will be either demolition or retrofitting, although it’s too early in the process to pin down specifics. “We’re not in the position right now, volume wise and financially, to take on this project, but we want to get the entitlements so we have the ability to start designing and building when we’re ready to do that,” added Miller, estimating five to 10 years before design work would begin. Kaiser’s expanded capacity While Kaiser Permanente won’t open any new buildings this year, the health system is reaping the benefits of facilities opened last year. Sylmar Medical Offices opened in late 2018 at 12669 Encinitas Ave., offering mental health and wellness care options for Kaiser members. “We see approximately 400 patients daily at this location. Prior to the opening of Sylmar Medical Offices, our members received mental health and wellness services at Sherman Terrace Medical Offices in Reseda – which was a leased facility,” said Payman Roshan, senior vice president and area manager with Kaiser Permanente in Panorama City. Kaiser purchased and renovated the 35,000-square-foot Sylmar facility and then closed the Sherman Terrace location. In Panorama City, Kaiser opened Oasis Medical Offices at 13651 Willard St. last year, the new home for hematology and oncology services previously in a basement-level office. “These patients receiving cancer related treatment visit frequently, and often for long periods of time. Assuring them a space that not only has the latest in technology but is welcoming and supports their overall health is essential,” said Laura Gallardo, chief operating officer for Kaiser Permanente in Panorama City. Future Valley projects for Kaiser include a Target Clinic in Santa Clarita this year. Kaiser has launched 17 clinics inside Target Corp. stores since 2014; a clinic in Northridge, opened last year, was the first in the Valley. “These retail-based clinics are branded as Kaiser Permanente in a Target environment and provide additional access points for us to care for our members and non-members,” Roshan said. Other plans include expanding optometry services in the Valley with a standalone Vision Essentials location set to open in Mission Hills next year, and redeveloping the Panorama City campus.

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