HealthLeaders-InterStudy, a leading provider of managed care industry intelligence, reports that several of the 35 hospitals in the Riverside-San Bernardino area are planning costly construction and expansion projects. According to the latest issue of the Riverside Market Overview, projects in the pipeline include three for-profit and two nonprofit hospitals, expanded emergency rooms, cardiology facilities, and medical office buildings.
"Three factors are driving hospital construction in the Inland Empire," said Margaret Dick, HealthLeaders-InterStudy senior analyst. "These are new hospital seismic standards, the first phase of which goes into effect in 2008, regional population growth, and a shift from money-losing medical services to more lucrative offerings."
Leading the expansion spree is Kaiser Permanente with plans to invest more than $1.1 billion in the Riverside-San Bernardino area by 2013. With membership in Kaiser Foundation Health Plan growing steadily, Kaiser Permanente is increasing its existing medical facility capacity, staking out new territory like Ontario and keeping an eye on opportunities in the Victorville area.
Other hospitals planned or underway include for-profit Community Health Systems' new Barstow Community Hospital, the for-profit California Heart and Surgical Hospital, which is owned by a physician partnership and expected to open in 2007, and United Health Services' 320-bed, for-profit hospital in Temecula.
To improve their financial fortunes and offset the cost of new construction, some hospital systems are discarding money-losing facilities and services to make room for more lucrative offerings. At Catholic Healthcare West's Community Hospital, a convalescent center was replaced with a pediatric subacute-care center. Valley Health System's Hemet Valley Medical Center expanded its emergency room by closing its behavioral health space in early 2005.
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