To Attract Doctors, Patients : UCLA to Have Private Medical Building

How do you keep a hospital healthy?

By keeping your doctors--as well as your patients--happy, the UCLA Medical Center believes.

Taking its own advice, the medical center will build a $20-million seven-story medical office building. It will be part of a $175-million Ambulatory Care Complex on which work will start in August.

The complex, which also will include an outpatient care center and a mental health center, will be constructed above a two-story garage on a 14-acre site now used for parking, across Westwood Plaza from the center.

The Board of Regents gave final approval for the project at its latest meeting.

The office building will be the first private medical office building on a UC campus.

The other structures in the new complex will be an outpatient care center, a mental health center and a 2,900-car parking facility.

UCLA believes that by providing office space near the medical center its part-time doctors will find it easier to come to the hospital to teach. And by having their offices next to the hospital, the doctors will send more of their patients to UCLA instead of somewhere else.

The patients also will be happier knowing that their doctor is just across the street.

Dr. Raymond G. Schultze, director of the medical center, says that until now, UCLA has been one of the few major hospitals without a nearby office building for its doctors.

In an unusual arrangement, the building will be privately financed and operated by the contractor, Los Angeles-based Held/Jones.

The university is providing a 55-year ground lease.

Sources familar with the project say that some doctors prefer private ownership and operation of the building. They believe that by being on the hospital staff, UCLA already has a measure of control over their practice, and they wouldn't want the university to also be their landlord.

What makes for a happy medical office building?

Getting Right Mix

Harold Held, the Held of Held/Jones, says that getting the right mix of doctor/tenants is vital.

The prime focus of the marketing will be to UCLA hospital staff doctors with big private practices. Space will also be offered to UCLA staff doctors who are entering practice, since often they specialize in emerging fields and can bring new kinds of patients to the hospital.

Internists form the ideal nucleus, Held says, since they can provide a referral base for many kinds of specialists. Certain specialists, such as obstetricians, gynecologists and surgeons, generate patients who need hospital beds.

The building will also house doctors, such as dentists and psychiatrists, who generate less business for the medical center.

The secret of happiness for this pair of tenants is to keep them apart, since the sound of drilling by the dentists unnerves psychiatrists as well as their patients.

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