Talk about coming full circle. Fifty-four years after closing a school within its walls, Orthopaedic Hospital in downtown Los Angeles has opened a new high school next door.
The privately supported hospital and the Los Angeles public school system have teamed up to launch the $42 million Orthopaedic Hospital Medical Magnet High School, which will train future medical professionals starting with ninth-graders.
Orthopaedic Hospital was founded in 1911 as a clinic to treat crippled children. The downtown hospital building opened in 1922 as Orthopaedic Hospital-School.
"In those days, the treatments took so long they'd be here for a whole year," says James Luck, the hospital's president, CEO and medical director. Thus, the school within the hospital was a necessity. That arrangement ended in 1950, but Luck says the idea for a magnet school resurfaced during planning sessions as part of the hospital's 1998 alliance with the UCLA Center for Health Sciences. Instead of merely providing education for sick children, this school will help train the next generation of healthcare workers.
The school will open its doors Sept. 9 with 450 students in ninth and 10th grades and will add grade levels as the students advance. In two years, the school should reach its projected, four-year enrollment of 762 students.
Half of the students will come from an area served by overcrowded Jefferson High School where 92% of its 3,869 students are Hispanic. Hospital staffers will give courses and lectures at the school, students will be invited to participate in community service projects, including some at a hospital clinic on the border with Mexico and, during the summer, students will be offered jobs on hospital research projects, Luck says.
Land of plenty
Old Manhattan hospitals never die-they just get turned into luxury condominiums. A storied hospital on Manhattan's exclusive Upper East Side was snapped up by a residential real estate developer soon after Continuum Health Partners announced plans last spring to improve its overall financial performance by selling off one of its choice real estate assets.
Beth Israel Medical Center's Singer Division on East End Avenue was sold for a reported $185 million to Skyline Developers, a division of Garden Homes Development in Short Hills, N.J. The developers also purchased two adjacent apartment buildings on East 88th Street from Continuum.
Continuum announced plans to relocate clinical programs and close the Singer Division last spring in an effort to boost capital investment at Beth Israel and the other facilities in the four-hospital system. The emergency department closed on July 30 and clinical care ceased on Aug. 3. The sale is expected to close by the end of September.
True nurse stories
Provena St. Joseph Medical Center of Joliet, Ill., just released a "tell all" book about nursing on the front lines, but The Healing Voices: The Heart, Mind and Spirit of Nursing isn't likely to ignite any juicy scandals.
Kathy Mikos, vice president of patient-care services for the 487-bed flagship hospital of Mokena, Ill.-based Provena Health, says the book is part marketing vehicle and part nurse recruiting tool, offering brief insights and first-person recollections from the hospital's nurses.
"We were looking for a way to honor our 800 nurses and the great work they do and allow them to reflect on the essence of their profession and patient-care stories that have made a difference in their lives and careers," Mikos says. The 50 nurses interviewed explain how and why they entered nursing, and discuss their careers and inspiring moments that have encouraged them to remain in the healing profession. Each page includes a photo of the nurse speaking and a separate shot of their hands at work and at rest, comforting patients, preparing to test blood pressure and recording a medical history.
Many chose nursing at an early age, citing relatives, friends and neighbors who encouraged them. Wessa Jurcin, the daughter of a physician, helped her father make rounds at Provena St. Joseph's as a girl. Her mother, grandmother and aunts were nurses. "I always knew I'd become a nurse," she wrote.
Ronald Battista, whose pay and perks helped attract a storm of criticism to the Rhode Island Blues, will keep his $600,000 in forgiven loans after all.
Battista resigned in May as the health plan's president and CEO after the state Legislature, physicians and consumers criticized him and his company over huge cash reserves and corporate compensation. Battista was paid $669,000 in 2003-a 25% increase over 2002-and received a $2.1 million advance from one of his supplemental retirement plans. He also received the loans to help cover costs of his divorce and a new home. The board then forgave the loans.
As part of an effort to forestall legislation to bring the Blues under greater state control, Battista pledged to repay $340,000 of the loans. However, Blues spokesman Scott Fraser told the Associated Press that Battista made that promise when he, and the company, expected he would stay on. "According to the terms of his contract, those loans are forgiven," Fraser said.
In addition to the forgiven loans, Battista, who officially left the company May 6, will receive two years of severance salary, as stipulated by his contract, amounting to $546,500 a year. He also is entitled to retirement benefits accrued during his 33 years with the Blues.
The board this year agreed to ban future loans to its officers, directors and employees.