www.baltimoresun.com/topic/kswb-lajolla-hospital,0,3864525.story

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New Hospital sparks controversy

by Kristina lee

FOX 5 San Diego Staff

April 1, 2010

SAN DIEGO

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University of California, San Diego announces the plan to build a new hospital in La Jolla. The ten story medical center will be named "Jacob's Medical Center" after Qualcomm Co-founder's Irwin and Joan Jacobs who donated $75 million. It will be built near UCSD's Thorton Hospital in La Jolla.

"I want to personally thank the jacobs famiy for this truly remarkable gift," said a UCSD's CEO. "With this gift we will continue to become a premiere academic center."

The 664 million dollar center will hold 245 beds. It will be a specialty center equipped with three different hospitals: Cancer, Woman and Infants and Advanced Surgery.

"It's also very exciting for us to contemplate this whole new center, this whole expansion," said Irwin Jacobs.

But not everyone can share the excitement. Scripps Health, President and CEO Chris Van Groder says he feels like history is repeating itself.

"If they close services or close their entire hospital that burden falls onto Scripps and Sharp. That could destable the entire healthcare industry," said Van Groder.

Back in 2005, UCSD had plans to close the Hillcrest hospital and move it to La Jolla. Van Groder fought it all the way.

"Infact the 'Board of Supervisors' voted unanimously against that plan which is why the University decided to keep it open, lets say they might have been disingenious about it," said Van Groder.

His main concern remains, the move would leave Scripps Hospital caring for all the uninsured patients. He says economically, his hospital would lose money. Just in five months alone, Scripps says it delivered 70 million dollars worth of charity care.

"What will happen when they move up to La Jolla, at some point it comes economically difficult to keep our hospital's open," said Van Groder.

Doctors at Scripps Mercy Hospital share his disappointment. Doctor Davis Cracroft says patients will be forced to find new doctors. And with the new health care reform, he already anticipates crowded emergency rooms.

"That can't help but make our jobs more difficult and with more patients seeking care outside the UCSD system, then by all means we will be impacted," said Dr. Cracroft.

UCSD hopes the Jacobs Medical Center will be up and running in late 2016.