New Hospital Would Offer Extra Features

Bucking the trend in health care to cut expenses, a group of Conejo Valley surgeons plans to open a new specialty hospital in Thousand Oaks that will cater to those who want and can afford a higher level of service.

The new 22-bed surgical hospital is also expected to help ease the pressure of crowded area hospitals, officials associated with the project said. The group of six doctors from Westlake Village and Thousand Oaks, who have joined with FSC Health of Fresno, say patients have suffered as health-care providers have cut costs.

"Cost cutting has gone a little too far and the quality has suffered more than it should have," said Dr. Patrick Reiten. "We think we are real good at what we do, but what we need is a real good place to do it, with adequate staff and equipment."

The $25-million surgical hospital will resemble a hotel with in-room amenities including televisions, VCRs, video and book libraries, a mini-refrigerator, well-stocked bathrooms, wall-to-wall carpeting and sleeper sofas for guests. The hospital will also provide a 3-1 patient-to-nurse ratio.

The doctors are in the process of purchasing property in Thousand Oaks that they declined to identify. They hope to complete the permit process in six months and be open in 1 1/2 to two years.

Reiten said the costs at the new hospital will be higher than most other facilities and that the doctors do not expect to work with HMOs, at least initially.

"All we are trying to do is add another option and raise the standard in terms of one aspect of the medical community," Reiten said. "It is paid for by traditional insurance; it is not something only wealthy people can go to."

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