Michael Ovitz may be without work, but neither he nor the campaign to rebuild UCLA Medical Center is hurting for money.
Ovitz is the entertainment industry's one-time mega-agent who resigned his post as president of Walt Disney Co. Dec. 12 with an $89 million cash and stock option severance package. He later donated $25 million toward the hospital's proposed reconstruction.
"I have been . . . deeply committed to and supportive of the UCLA School of Medicine/Medical Center and the fine work that is being accomplished there by the dedicated men and women who staff the institution," said Ovitz in a Feb. 19 letter announcing the gift.
Both Ovitz and wife Judy, who earned undergraduate degrees from the University of California at Los Angeles in the late 1960s, have been active philanthropists for the university the last three decades. Michael Ovitz chairs the UCLA executive board for medical sciences and regularly taps the region's entertainment community for university fund-raising efforts. Neither he nor Judy Ovitz could be reached for comment.
The gift, the second-largest in UCLA's history, was made through the Ovitz Family Foundation. It represents the largest donation in the university's $335 million fund-raising drive to rebuild the main hospital in Westwood and a satellite campus in Santa Monica purchased from UniHealth in 1995. Both sustained extensive damage in the 1994 Northridge earthquake and will cost an estimated $1.1 billion to rebuild.
"Michael and Judith Ovitz will have a transforming impact on the UCLA medical enterprise," said university Chancellor Charles E. Young.
Industry observers said the facilities-among the largest on Los Angeles' West Side-have been under stress since the earthquake.
"If they don't do a rebuild, the state is probably going to intercede at one point and hit them with facilities violations," said Jim Lott, senior vice president of the Healthcare Association of Southern California.
A 12-year plan to rebuild the Westwood and Santa Monica campuses has construction tentatively slated to begin in 1998. The project would replace the 587-bed acute-care and 188-bed UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute and Hospital with a combined 500-bed facility. Research and teaching space would also be expanded from 1.3 million to 1.7 million square feet.
At the Santa Monica campus, the 363-bed facility would be replaced with a 220-bed facility. An additional 40,000 to 60,000 square feet of space devoted to outpatient care also would be added in order to boost efficiency, according to officials.
"This plan . . . is designed to help UCLA remain competitive in the rapidly changing managed-care marketplace," said Gerald S. Levey, M.D., dean of the UCLA School of Medicine and provost of medical sciences.
The proposal was submitted to the University of California Board of Regents in January. The board is expected to vote on the matter sometime in the spring-the first in a series of votes it must take as the project moves along.
Aside from the money to be raised from donations, the Federal Emergency Management Agency has pledged $488 million in earthquake repair funds, and $44 million will come from the state. University officials say they must find more sources of funding on the state and federal levels to make up the additional $430 million required to complete the reconstruction.
In a related matter, UCLA has announced the formation of the Center of Health Services Management.
A collaborative effort between the schools of business and public health, the center of health services management will conduct research to identify problems in the healthcare industry, provide advanced training for industry managers, and provide consultation to healthcare companies, according to a written statement.