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Vital Signs


Vital Signs

Spring 2012

New Santa Monica Campus of UCLA Health System Officially Open for Business

UCLA Medical Center, Santa Monica officially opened on January 8 as 125 adult and pediatric patients were transported into new hospital buildings on the Santa Monica campus, as well as into the existing Merle Norman Pavilion.

Teams of doctors, nurses and moving specialists transported patients to ensure they were safely and efficiently relocated to the new hospital. The move followed months of extensive planning to prepare the hospital for licensing and occupancy, and to orchestrate the extremely detailed sequence of patient relocations.

Part of a systemwide rebuilding project, the new Santa Monica campus features UCLA Medical Center, Santa Monica; a branch of Mattel Children's Hospital UCLA; the Los Angeles Orthopaedic Hospital; and the UCLA Rape Treatment Center.

"This wonderful new facility not only accommodates scientific and technical excellence, but also creates an environment that is healing," says David Feinberg, M.D., M.B.A., president of UCLA Health.

"This move marks the final stage in the transformation of this hospital from a private community hospital to an academic communityhospital that delivers world-class UCLA care to every patient," says James Atkinson, M.D., who oversaw the rebuilding project and serves as medical director at the Santa Monica campus.

Dr. Atkinson added that the campus will provide the full continuum of services, from neonatal intensive care to geriatric medicine, and serve as the inpatient home of UCLA's highly regarded orthopaedic, geriatric and general medicine programs.

Several key services opened during a previous phase, including the Nethercutt Emergency Center in 2007, which now serves almost 40,000 patients annually, and The BirthPlace in 2008, with its hotel-like labor, delivery and recovery rooms and 16-bassinet neonatal intensive care unit.

The design of the hospital is inspired not only by the Northern Italianate architecture of original buildings on the UCLA campus, but also by hospitality concepts that speak to the character of the building, its public spaces and patient rooms. More than 25 percent of the new campus is dedicated to green and open spaces.

"The new hospital is designed to create a comfortable, even home-like setting for delivering healthcare that will benefit patients, visitors and staff," says architect Robert A.M. Stern, who designed the new buildings with CO Architects. "Additionally, we wanted to create a design that connected the Santa Monica campus with UCLA's Westwood campus to clearly establish its identity as part of the UCLA Health."

The rebuilding project was launched in response to damage caused by the 1994 Northridge earthquake. The new hospital was built to meet the latest seismic safety standards and can withstand an earthquake of up to magnitude 8.4. Redundant power sources will allow the hospital to operate for at least 100 hours after an earthquake without receiving any help from the outside world.

Now that patients have been moved into the new facilities, the hospital's existing, nine-story Tower Building will be demolished to make way for additional landscaped gardens. Final site improvements should take about one year to complete.

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