Re “Care, Not Hospital Size,” editorial, June 21: In reference to the continued discussions on the merits of a 750- versus a 600-bed replacement facility for the earthquake-damaged and aging County-USC Medical Center, you frame the discussion primarily on the unfortunate public contretemps among the politicians, while making declarative statements in regard to what is best for health care delivery from the medical standpoint. However, nowhere do you take note that overwhelmingly the medical profession, including the Los Angeles County Medical Assn., the Hospital Council and two public commissions, has favored building a 750-bed facility.
The next major earthquake could render useless one or more of the very facilities that you advocate as the facilities of second resort, just as several private hospitals were severely damaged in the same earthquake that has precipitated the current debate. While economic conditions are favorable, we should invest in better health facilities for the next generation. Experience has taught us that if the patient count goes down, there are many, many worthwhile uses for the unexpected space. The larger facility is a win-win for the future.
L. JULIAN HAYWOOD MD
President, Assn. of Physicians
of L.A. County Hospital