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UCSD Expanding With $664 Million, 10-Story Medical Facility

— A $664 million, 10-story, 449,000-square-foot medical facility will be built next to UC San Diego's Thornton Hospital in La Jolla, university health system officials announced today.

When completed in 2016, the Jacobs Medical Center will be comprised of three hospitals -- the Cancer Hospital, the Hospital for Women and Infants and the Hospital for Advanced Surgery -- and have 245 patient beds, according to UCSD.

Irwin Jacobs, founder of San Diego-based Qualcomm Inc., and his wife, Joan, through their foundation pledged $75 million for the project.

"This generous and visionary gift from Joan and Irwin Jacobs and their family will allow the UC San Diego Health System to become one of the premier destination academic medical centers in the country,'' UCSD Chancellor Marye Anne Fox said.

As a dynamic home for our translational bench-to-bedside research, the Jacobs Medical Center will also serve as an educational space for the next generation of physicians, pharmacists and scientists,'' she said.

Work on the hospital is scheduled to begin in early 2012.

In a statement, officials from rival Scripps Health said the UCSD hospital will "destabilize the health care safety net across the region.''

They cited a story in The San Diego Union-Tribune, which reported that UCSD intents to shift services from its hospital in Hillcrest to La Jolla to capture more privately insured patients, who are generally more profitable than those covered by Medicare, Medi-Cal and the county's medical programs for the indigent.

"Our concern remains the same as it was in 2005 when this plan was originally announced; that is it further strains the region's already fragile health care safety net,'' the statement from Scripps read. "If UCSD provides fewer services in Hillcrest, the other providers, such as Scripps, will be responsible for a larger share of the underserved communities.''

According to the statement, Scripps provided $264 million in uncompensated care last year, much of which was at Scripps Mercy campuses in Hillcrest and Chula Vista.

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