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UC San Diego: Local Leaders Announce Plan to Strengthen Health Services in Imperial County

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Representatives from the City of El Centro, El Centro Regional Medical Center (ECRMC), and UC San Diego Health today announced a strategic and operational plan to stabilize and financially bolster ECRMC, as well as the greater network of Imperial County hospitals.

Under the proposed 12- to 18-month plan, UC San Diego Health will assume full day-to-day operational, clinical and financial management of ECRMC while Preston Hollow Community Capital (PHCC), the majority bondholder for ECRMC, will provide financial and other resources to ECRMC for daily operations, capital projects, and infrastructure investments in the local community.

“We believe this plan is a positive and logical step in supporting our hospital staff and ongoing operations while we continue to explore future options to stabilize our health care system,” said Martha Cardenas-Singh, mayor of the City of El Centro.

Conversations are already underway among regional municipal and health leaders — including hospital representatives, public health experts, and emergency response officials — to conceptualize and discuss how local cooperation could best serve the community through a single health system with coordinated medical and surgical services, lower administrative costs, and possibly shared electronic health records.

“Our focus is ensuring there are significant resources in place to achieve a positive patient experience. In the short-term, UC San Diego Health will deploy additional onsite leadership and other support services to lead daily hospital functions from finance to human resources to clinical operations,” said Patty Maysent, CEO of UC San Diego Health. “In addition, we will continue to advance conversations with nearby health care providers, as well as local and state representatives, to develop an achievable vision and vehicle to preserve high-quality health care services for Imperial Valley.”

“As both an emergency room physician and a hospital administrator, I see this proposal as a reassuring path forward that will allow our talented doctors, nurses and team members to do what they do best: deliver quality care for our patients closer to home,” said Christian Tomaszewski, MD, chief medical officer, ECRMC.

According to the California Hospital Association, half of California’s 330+ hospitals are currently operating at a financial loss due to increased labor expenses, workforce shortages, supply disruptions, and overall rising expenses in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

El Centro Regional Medical Center is a 160+ bed acute-care medical center, serving the health care needs of the Imperial Valley since 1956. UC San Diego Health currently provides clinical care services to ECRMC that include onsite physician services in areas such as the emergency department and telehealth consultations for critical care and stroke care.