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UCSD Medical Center Expands Emergency Services


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People living south of Interstate 8 will have access to more emergency health care soon. Reporter Amita Sharma has that story.

UCSD officials today announced plans to expand emergency medical services at the Hillcrest hospital by 50 percent. 

The $40 million project is expected to be complete in about two years. UCSD Medical Center Chief Executive Officer Richard Liekweg says once ER access is expanded, it will be a boon to those in the region who need healthcare immediately.

Liekweg: There are many days where we have long waits in the emergency room so it delays the time in which we can treat our patients so we’re very optimistic that by bringing this amount of capacity, at least the length of staying in the ER will drop dramatically which will also allow the emergency medical vehicles that are transporting patients.

UCSD's announcement comes five months after San Diego County released a study showing that healthcare, including emergency services, for people who live south of Interstate 8 was woefully inadequate.

Ron Roberts, county supervisor: It was clear that there was a lot of stress for hospitals, especially as you look at the southern part of the county and the things that need to be done to provide the services. I’m delighted to be here to see the expansion of the emergency room, because that is one of the critical needs.
Roberts says tomorrow, supervisors will consider setting aside $20 million to subsidize healthcare for the region’s poor.

 Meanwhile, UCSD is also focusing on upgrading its technology needs. The medical center has opened new angiography rooms at its Hillcrest and La Jolla hospitals. Physician Ann Roberts says the equipment in those rooms will help doctors at the facilities do a lot of things they couldn’t do before. 
Ann Roberts : The real benefits will come to our patients, who will be able to get state-of-the-art treatment both in neuro-interventional procedures as well as body interventional treating patients with tumors, treating patients with peripheral vascular disease, treating patients who have aneurisms or bulging out of the arteries in their brains.
Roberts says UCSD is the only medical center in San Diego County offering this kind of treatment.


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