LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — The recently closed St. Vincent Medical Center in the Westlake District will reopen later this month to increase the number of hospital beds in the region and expand intensive care unit capacity for patients who have contracted the novel coronavirus, Gov. Gavin Newsom said Monday.
The Los Angeles Surge Hospital is expected to begin opening April 13, and will ramp up access to more patients as health care workers and staff are hired and supplies and equipment are secured. The temporary hospital has a projected capacity of 266 beds when it becomes fully operational.
“The opening of this COVID treatment facility speaks to the power of partnership at a critical moment, united in our shared mission of service to our communities as we confront this pandemic,” Dr. Christina Ghaly, Director for the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services, said. “We are grateful for the vision and support of the State of California, and the ingenuity and commitment of Kaiser Permanente and Dignity Health to open this medical facility at lighting speed, bolstering the resilience of our County’s healthcare system and our ability to meet the medical needs of those impacted by this terrible virus.”
The temporary facility will operate as a dedicated referral hospital and will not have an emergency room or accept walk-in patients. The county’s health department will help the hospital coordinate intake and transfer requests from hospitals across the county.
Last month, Newsom authorized the leasing of facilities to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, including St. Vincent, to increase the state’s number of hospital and ICU beds. The state will also fund the hospital, its operations and will also be responsible for getting the necessary permits, equipment and supplies.
Dignity Health and Kaiser Permanente will oversee the management of the facility.
“Gov. Newsom’s swift effort to utilize the space at St. Vincent’s, and the collaboration of our private partners to operationalize this along with the Department of Health Services, is a true testament to the strength of our community here in Los Angeles County,” L.A. County Supervisor Kathryn Barger said. “The Los Angeles Surge Hospital is one component of our county’s comprehensive effort to respond to the need for surge capacity as we come together to serve our community.”
Julie Sprengel, President of Dignity Health’s Southwest Division, will serve as acting CEO. David Quam, MD, who served in multiple leadership roles for Kaiser Permanente, will be the Chief Medical Officer. Jason Black, RN, formerly of Dignity Health, will be the Chief Nursing Executive.