USC Med to add 150 more beds
Posted March 7, 2013 at 11:35 pm in News
In a unanimous vote, the Los Angeles Board of Supervisors approved on Wednesday the addition of 150 new hospital beds to the Los Angeles County and USC Medical Center Campus, located in the Boyle Heights neighborhood of Los Angeles.
After its opening in 2008, the state-of-the-art medical center has faced serious overcrowding issues. An insufficient number of hospital beds has caused daily backups in the hospital‚Äôs emergency room, with some patients forced to wait in hallways in order to make room for incoming traumas, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Dr. Mitch Katz, head of the Los Angeles Department of Health Services, said that current solutions to overcrowding issues have been insufficient thus far. Katz also said the issue is time sensitive, with federal health care reform laws set to take effect in 2014.
Current overcrowding has caused a diversion of ambulances from the emergency department as well as patient overflow transfers to other hospitals.
L.A. County Supervisor Gloria Molina has been the biggest proponent of the expansion, arguing that the average wait time of 12 hours has caused emergency rooms to become dangerously overcrowded.
‚ÄúPatients shouldn‚Äôt have to wait hours for basic health care,‚ÄĚ Molina told the L.A. Times.
The hospital, which was built to replace an aging general hospital tower, has only 600 beds ‚ÄĒ 224 fewer beds than the hospital it replaced.
The overcrowded medical center currently operates at a reported 95 percent of its capacity, which is higher than industry standards and recommendations, according to the L.A. Times.
Molina said the increase in hospital beds will ease the burden of overcrowding on the medical staff.
‚ÄúLAC+USC hospital staff are local heroes every single day,‚ÄĚ Molina told the L.A. Times. ‚ÄúEven with the constraints of a 600-bed hospital, they‚Äôve done their jobs for years with tremendous compassion and unyielding efficiency. With a 750-bed hospital, LAC+USC staff will have all the tools and resources needed to best provide patients with top quality care.‚ÄĚ
L.A. County currently operates the largest health care public-private partnership network in the nation, according to the L.A. Times. It has¬† one in 10 L.A. County residents an estimated using the system.
Molina said the approval of her motion is part of a new effort to transform the county‚Äôs health department from a provider of last resort to a provider of choice, according to Santa Clarita Valley News.
‚ÄúLos Angeles County will be much more competitive,‚ÄĚ Molina told the L.A. Times.
Molina said financing for the construction of a facility that will hold the new beds could cost $300 million to $450 million and will come from the sale of bonds.