Palmdale to Consider Hospital Proposal


Palmdale may get a full-service hospital--something the city has lacked for five years--if the City Council approves a proposal by a Texas-based hospital management firm.

Universal Health Services Inc., which owns or manages about 100 health-care facilities nationwide, has submitted plans for a 120-bed, 175,000-square-foot hospital with a licensed emergency room, city officials said.

Since Desert Palms Hospital in Palmdale closed in March 1996 because of financial difficulties, the city has been looking for a replacement.

"This is a great opportunity for our community to get health care closer to our city," said Mayor Jim Ledford.

"[Palmdale is] really in need of a modern, state-of-the-art medical facility, and that's the business we're in," said David Bryant, assistant director of development at Universal Health.

Currently, the nearest full-service hospitals serving communities in the south Antelope Valley are Antelope Valley and Lancaster Community, both in Lancaster.

Ebe Winter, director of public relations for Lancaster Community Hospital, said he believes a new hospital would offer relief for existing ones.

"Everybody is way overloaded. There is a waiting time for emergency rooms that doesn't need to be," Winter said.

Lancaster Community Hospital is more than 20 miles away from some areas in Palmdale.

"In a time of emergency, you always worry about that," said Palmdale city spokeswoman Barbara La Fata.

Los Angeles County Fire Department officials said another hospital in the area can only benefit residents.

"Everything is so spread out up there. Having another hospital would be a wonderful thing," said county fire inspector Ed Martinez.

Universal Health hopes to build on a 30-acre undeveloped plot on the northeast corner of Tierra Subida Avenue and Avenue Q-8. The site offers access to the Antelope Valley Freeway and major streets, as well as a central city location.

The company also plans to build an on-site office building for medical professionals.

The project, which is estimated to cost $50 million, would be funded by a budget approved two years ago by the Palmdale Redevelopment Agency, said Mike Adams of the city's economic development department.

The project will be presented at an Aug. 8 City Council meeting. After a public comment period, the council will vote on the proposal.

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