SALT LAKE CITY-The University of Utah board of trustees on Dec. 13 approved a $20 million to $25 million expansion project for University Hospital. The hospital has been operating at capacity for the past three years, said Lorris Betz, senior vice president of health sciences at the university. The hospital has had to turn patients away and divert emergency room patients to community hospitals, she said. The expansion will add 80,000 to 90,000 square feet to the northeast corner of the hospital. The addition will include expansion of the emergency department. The project is expected to take 21/2 years to complete. Funding will come from the hospital and private donors.
CHICO, Calif.-Part of the former Chico Community Hospital could be demolished to make room for a new outpatient cancer center for Enloe Medical Center, officials said. About 27,000 square feet of space will be torn down next summer if the Chico Planning Commission approves the proper permits. City officials have checked to make sure no historic resources would be destroyed in the remodeling. The new cancer center, operated by 208-bed Enloe, will be 30,000 square feet and will join other outpatient centers already operating at the old Chico Community site. It could open by June 2001, hospital officials said.
SACRAMENTO, Calif.-California Gov. Gray Davis has formed a new task force to review the quality of care at California's homes for veterans and to make recommendations for improvements. Davis formed the task force as part of following through on a campaign pledge to improve California's veterans' programs. It will be co-chaired by Jerry Hansen, inspector general for the Department of Veterans Affairs. Former White House Chief of Staff Leon Panetta will also serve on the panel.
SACRAMENTO, Calif.-HHS has approved California's proposal to expand its existing Children's Health Insurance Program, called the Healthy Families Program, to cover children in families with an income of up to 250% of the federal poverty level. Healthy Families previously covered children only in families earning between 100% and 200% of the poverty level. That makes California eligible for up to $850 million in new federal funds for fiscal 1999.