Monday, April 22

$294 million awarded to medical center for repairs


$294 million awarded to medical center for repairs

By Jennifer K. Morita

Daily Bruin Staff

The UCLA Medical Center was awarded $294 million in federal
emergency funds to repair damage sustained in the 1994 Northridge
earthquake, the Federal Emergency Management Agency announced
Tuesday.

University officials originally applied for $935 million to
repair the entire Center for the Health Sciences, which includes
the medical center and the schools of medicine, dentistry, public
health and nursing.

"The people of Southern California have come to rely on UCLA
Medical Center in an emergency – a fact that was made clear in the
Northridge earthquake, when other Westside hospitals were rendered
inoperable," said Chancellor Charles Young in a prepared statement.
"This award will help UCLA maintain its promise, for many decades
to come, to provide the highest-quality care when our community
needs it most."

Young added that UCLA officials have been examining various
proposals for repairing the medical center. Plans, which should be
made by the end of the year, may include a combination of
repairing, retrofitting and replacing the center.

Young also stressed that although the medical center was damaged
during the earthquake, it is still safe for occupation.

In an interview several weeks before the Federal Emergency
Relief Agency (FEMA) announced the $294 million award, UCLA
spokesperson Jan Klunder stated that there are a number of
proposals for the medical center, including tearing down the
hospital and rebuilding it, but that no decision had been made
yet.

"It’s unclear if we’ll be able to do that," Klunder said. "It
requires having a certain amount (of funding)."

According to February minutes of the Chancellor’s Advisory
Committee on Disability, the medical center’s Building and Safety
Director Victor Kennedy stated that the estimated costs for
building a new hospital is about $450 million.

Negotiations for further funding for the center’s "broader uses"
are ongoing, according to UCLA officials.

"We continue to be in discussion with FEMA about our earthquake
claim," Klunder said in an earlier interview. "It isn’t just for
the hospital, but several core campus buildings are affected, as
well as the Center for Health Sciences."

Dean of the Medical School Gerald Levey added that the medical
center is important to Southern California.

"UCLA’s medical complex is a critical resource for Southern
California, and this FEMA contribution will help it remain so,"
Levey said in a recent statement. "This process represents an
important partnership between the university, the federal and state
governments and the private sector."

In addition, UCLA and the relief agency are negotiating damage
claims for the recently-acquired Santa Monica/UCLA Hospital.

"We have significant additional issues to address, and UCLA is
engaged in ongoing discussions with FEMA leadership to acquire
funds to further mitigate the risk to our medical complex in the
case of another major quake," he said.

UCLA Medical Center, rated the best hospital in the western
United States by the U.S. News and World Report magazine, serves
more than 300,000 patients a year.Comments to
[email protected]

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someoneShare on Google+Share on Reddit

Comments are supposed to create a forum for thoughtful, respectful community discussion. Please be nice. View our full comments policy here.