Medical services multiply throughout the region

The pace of medical advances and health care availability has seemingly outpaced other service sectors throughout the region in recent years. That surge is expected to continue next year.

Temecula’s first hospital is slated to open in the fall. Services at Murrieta’s first hospital are expanding following the recent opening of a neonatal intensive care unit there. New cardiology techniques and other services will continue to unfold at Murrieta’s second hospital. A 53-acre parcel east of Interstate 15 on the boundary of Temecula and Murrieta is being eyed as a potential site of a Kaiser Permanente hospital and medical complex. And Fallbrook Hospital’s emergence from a contract dispute with a medical group has opened the door for expanded services there.

The projects and new medical offerings are transforming a region that was widely seen as lacking enough hospital beds and key specialty services.

Next year, a second birthday will be celebrated at Loma Linda University, which opened a $230 million complex in Murrieta that is anchored by an emergency room and a five-story, 265,000-square-foot hospital. That hospital, which overlooks Interstate 215, sprouted over a 26-month period that netted Murrieta its second hospital.

Since it opened, Loma Linda Murrieta has brought open heart surgery to the region and introduced new cancer and childbirth strategies. It has also added specialized wound care and bariatric surgery to its offerings.

“We are making plans for expanding our cardiology services and will have some important news to announce in January,” said Kathryn Stiles, the hospital’s director of marketing and communication.

As services expand there, Temecula’s first hospital is taking shape at the city’s southeast corner. Southwest Healthcare System is building the 140-bed, five-story hospital that is more than 60 percent finished. The hospital is expected to cost the parent company, Pennsylvania-based Universal Health Services, about $150 million when it opens next fall.

Work progressed there as Southwest joined forces with Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego to open the first neonatal care unit in the Temecula Valley. That 11-bed unit – the first in a vast area from Escondido to Orange County – recently opened at Rancho Springs Medical Center in Murrieta. The neonatal unit is located in a $53 million annex that opened alongside Rancho Springs in February 2011.

Meanwhile, Fallbrook Hospital, which has been serving the region for more than 50 years, is moving forward with its commitment to provide a growing list of specialty services and surgical options.

The facility’s emergency room, deemed critical for residents in the northern tip of San Diego County, continues to help patients avoid an emergency out-of-town transport as they grapple with threatening health conditions.

The hospital is emerging from a breakdown in communications that occurred during its contract renewal negotiations with Graybill Medical, one of the town’s largest medical groups. After a few stressful months, a new agreement was forged between the two in order to continue providing local hospital services for patients using that group.

Stephen Abbott, president of the Fallbrook Healthcare District said the new agreement was critical in order to deliver quality healthcare services to area residents.

“We are fortunate to have easy, local access to 24-hour emergency services at Fallbrook Hospital along with a wide variety of diagnostic and treatment services,” Abbott said.

One Response to "Medical services multiply throughout the region"

  1. smguillen   January 2, 2013 at 8:52 pm

    A Kaiser hospital in Murrieta is much needed. We sometimes have to go all te way to Riverside for certain services that are not offered locally. I sincerely hope this plan goes through.


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