The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors today approved $112 million in funding for the University of Southern California to provide patient care services and physician medical education at the new LAC+USC Medical Center.
Supervisors approved a contract amendment that provides $32 million in new funding per year to ensure continued access to quality clinical care for the citizens of Los Angeles County. This supplements an existing contract, which was increased to $80 million per year in 2006. USC has had a contract with LA County since 1987.
“The new contract is an accomplishment for the County of Los Angeles, the citizens of Los Angeles and the historic partnership with USC,” said Carmen A. Puliafito, dean of the Keck School of Medicine of USC. “The additional funding is needed to provide the additional physicians requested for the new LAC+USC Medical Center facility that opened Nov. 7.”
While planning for operations at the replacement facility LAC+USC officials requested that USC provide increased medical services. Negotiations for a new contract between USC and Los Angeles County have been under way for over a year and a half.
The new funding will provide enhanced resources in a number of crucial areas including:
� $3.7 million for additional emergency room physicians. The configuration of the new emergency room�which is three times the physical size of the old one and has all private rooms�requires more staffing to cover the same number of patients safely.
� $3.1 million to staff upgraded imaging technology, including more CT scanners, a PET scanner and three MRI machines require more radiologists and technicians to administer tests and read results in a timely manner.
� $1 million for additional trauma coverage and on-call surgical coverage. The contract also provides funds for the hiring of more anesthesiologists to improve operating room availability.
“We are very pleased that the County has taken action to address these issues,” Puliafito said. “The additional funding will be put into effect immediately to increase staffing levels and to ensure that we continue to provide excellent and timely care to the people of Los Angeles County in our new state-of-the-art facility.”
LAC+USC has nearly 39,000 inpatient discharges, 225,000 emergency department visits and one million ambulatory care visits each year and provides regional and community emergency trauma and critical care services.
“We at the Keck School of Medicine at USC are proud of our historic tradition of providing care at the LAC+USC Medical Center since 1885,” Puliafito said. “Our faculty physicians provide outstanding, compassionate care even as we teach our medical students and train our more than 900 residents and fellows � making LAC+USC the country’s largest academic teaching hospital. We provide citizens and their families with state-of-the art technology for diagnosis and the latest in therapies for myriad diseases. Our physicians are among the best and brightest anywhere in the country.”
The new $1.02 billion LAC+USC Medical Center features a seven-story outpatient tower hosting numerous specialty clinics, including psychiatry, ophthalmology, dentistry and orthopedics. The eight-story inpatient tower houses the hospital’s acute care and intensive care units, and the five-story diagnostic and treatment building contains several departments including the expanded emergency room, operating rooms and pharmacy.
Puliafito added, “I continue to hear from our medical students that they chose to come to the Keck School of Medicine largely because of the opportunity to train with our USC faculty at the LAC+USC Medical Center. Many of those medical students later choose to stay in Southern California after their residency training, continuing their service to this state.”