I.M. Pei has designed museums, space-age skyscrapers and even a new front entrance for the Louvre. But he considers designing hospitals to be among his most difficult tasks.
Such work is "very challenging; you're not just working with one client, but many clients," Pei said in an interview last week after a press conference announcing he would be the chief planner for the rebuilding of University of California Los Angeles Medical Center.
On this job, Pei must work with the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the state of California, which are contributing nearly half the $1.1 billion price tag for rebuilding the hospital, damaged in the 1994 Northridge earthquake. The new facility will replace both UCLA Medical Center and nearby Santa Monica-UCLA Medical Center, expanding medical research and teaching space to 1.7 million square feet from 1.3 million square feet, repairing damaged portions of the schools of medicine, public health, nursing and dentistry, and adding up to 60,000 square feet of ambulatory-care space.
According to Pei, another factor that makes such work so difficult is planning spaces that can accommodate medical technology.
"It's a highly technical field that's constantly evolving; you're not just designing for (equipment of) today, but also for the future," he said.
Pei vowed to "create a physical environment right for the healing process," adding that despite the 500-bed medical center's size, he would strive to make it intimate and soothing to patients. He promised a master plan for the rebuild would be released in August.
And we weren't invited?The society page of the Birmingham (Ala.) News reports that the June 7 wedding of Leslie Jones and Richard Scrushy, the chairman and chief executive officer of HealthSouth Corp., was "fantastic" enough to draw the attention of Martha Stewart and People magazine.
Scrushy chartered a 727 to whisk his guests down to Saint Mary, Jamaica, where the ceremony took place, reports HealthSouth's hometown newspaper.
Guests included HealthSouth execs James Bennett, Daryl Brown, Russell Maddox, Aaron Beam, Michael Martin, Anthony Tanner, William Horton and Vincent Thompson.
HealthSouth board members Larry House, the chairman and chief executive officer of Birmingham, Ala.-based MedPartners, and Phillip Watkins, a Birmingham physician, also joined in a beach party and later in a wedding dinner at a restaurant overlooking the island. Stewart, the ultimate arbiter of good taste, was on hand to get ideas for her new T.V. show, and Emmylou Harris played along with Scrushy's band Dallas County Line.
More hot air.After running a less-than-successful lobbying campaign that involved Medicare patients calling Capitol Hill by the hundreds (June 23, p. 88), advocates for the home oxygen industry are at it again with a marginally more conventional approach.
On Independence Day, a coalition of seniors and home medical equipment and home oxygen groups released what they called "The Home Oxygen Patients' Declaration of Independence."
The groups are opposed to provisions in both the House and Senate budgets that would reduce Medicare payments for home oxygen therapy by nearly 40%
The declaration was ceremonially signed in Washington July 4. It opens, "When in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for the people to speak out against unjust and harmful decisions by their government, it is incumbent upon the people to seek redress from their senators and representatives in Congress."
After a number of "whereases," the declaration concludes that home oxygen is necessary to "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." Whew!
School's out.Employees at POH Medical Center, formerly Pontiac (Mich.) Osteopathic Hospital, are feeling less blue these days.
Actually, they are wearing less blue, too, after new Chief Executive Officer Patrick Lamberti allowed an employee committee to revise an unpopular 4-year-old dress code requiring navy blue suits of all support staff.
The dress code was an edict handed down by Lamberti's embattled predecessor, Jack Whitlow, whose resignation last October came under a cloud of sexual harassment lawsuits.
"Jack would get compliments from his visitors about how professional the employees looked," Lamberti, who served as Whitlow's chief operating officer for 14 years, told Crain's Detroit Business. "But the employees didn't feel the same way."
The code was strict: It required the suit, a white or cream blouse for women, no pins or pendants, and no more than one ring for each hand. Earrings could be no larger than a nickel.
According to Stania Teasley, the hospital's nurse recruiter, the new dress code requires a professional appearance-ties for men and jackets for dress-clad women. But, she added, "You don't see too many blue suits around here anymore."