In the aftermath of the earthquake that devastated Southern California last month, healthcare providers are fearful of losing loyal physicians and their patients, as well as valued managed-care contracts, and are grappling with ways to resume business as usual.
Meanwhile, estimates of damage to area healthcare facilities have been difficult to calculate, largely because many health facility operators are awaiting detailed damageassessments from structural engineers.
Information provided to MODERN HEALTHCARE by individual operators of healthcare facilities shows the current tally for the destruction caused by the violent Jan. 17 temblor and its 3,500 aftershocks to be near $500 million.
At Kaiser Permanente of Southern California's medical office complex in Granada Hills, a wrecking crew meticulously took aim at the collapsed five-story structure last week.
Kathleen Barco, a Kaiser spokeswoman, said the $10 million structure slowly is being razed in an effort to salvage expensive medical equipment and invaluable medical records.
Ms. Barco said Kaiser has hired a document restoration firm to recover and restore the thousands of medical records and other papers that are believed to be salvageable through a freeze-drying process.
The Granada Hills site served 324,000 Kaiser enrollees, most of whom reside in Woodland Hills and Panorama City. Immediately following the quake, Kaiser relocated laboratory, pharmacy and other services to its Woodland Hills hospital.
Kaiser hasn't decided whether it will replace the Granada Hills structure, Ms. Barco said.
At Cigna Healthcare of Southern California, the Glendale, Calif.-based health plan was forced to close two of its 28 outpatient healthcare centers in Canoga Park and Granada Hills. Both are located near the quake's epicenter in the Northridge-Reseda area of the San Fernando Valley.
Cigna's one-story, freestanding health care center, serving 11,000 enrollees, re cently was reopened after sustaining some structural damage. However, the health plan's Granada Hills center, serving 9,300 enrollees, has been closed indefinitely, said Jim Harris, a Cigna spokesman.
Damage estimates for the two Cigna centers haven't been determined, Mr. Harris said.
Holy Cross Medical Center in Mission Hills, one of four hospitals that closed and reopened within days of the quake, granted office space to 33 independent physicians displaced by the quake, said spokeswoman Jane Cessar.
In Santa Monica, where Saint John's Hospital and Health Center was closed by California's Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development after sustaining severe structural damage, nearby Santa Monica Hospital Medical Center negotiated new contracts with HMOs and PPOs covering 7,000 people.
Ed Broderick, Santa Monica's director of managed care, said managed-care companies were eager to sign provider contracts with his hospital because enrollees are concerned about having access to a local hospital.
Among physician group practices, Mission Hills-based Facey Medical Group, San Fernando-based Greater Valley Medical Group and the Balboa facility of Mullikin Medical Centers also were quake victims.
Facey's Porter Ranch clinic was closed after sustaining heavy damage. Its other clinics in Canyon Country and Valencia also were damaged. Greater Valley said its clinics in Granada Hills and Mission Hills likely will be closed, but other clinics in the region have reopened.
Mullikin has closed its Balboa center indefinitely. However, physicians are treating patients at Mullikin sites in Canoga Park and Northridge.
Some 34 hospital buildings and medical office complexes sustained damage from the powerful quake, according to information compiled from the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development, the Hospital Council of Southern California and individual medical centers (Jan. 31, p. 6).
Of those structures, 18 were hospitals being revisited and reinspected last week by state structural engineers to determine if a series of strong aftershocks had caused further damage. Only one of those inspections resulted in a building shutdown, said OSHPD's Janice Ploeger.