UCI Health acquires four community hospitals, including Fountain Valley Regional

Shirley Dettloff, Chad Lefteris, Dr. Michael Russo and Randy Rogers, at center cut a ribbon on Wednesday.
Fountain Valley Regional Hospital Governing Board Chair Shirley Dettloff, UCI Health President and CEO Chad Lefteris, surgeon Michael Russo and Fountain Valley Regional Hospital CEO Randy Rogers cut a ribbon on Wednesday. Fountain Valley Regional Hospital was one of four community hospitals acquired by UCI Health.
(Eric Licas)

Arriving to work at 7 a.m. Wednesday morning, Adrienne Feilden was unsure of exactly what to expect.

The acclaimed child life specialist at Fountain Valley Regional Hospital knew the sale of her community hospital to UCI Health had been finalized hours earlier, so she wasn’t too surprised when she saw a huge “UCI Health” sign at the corner of Warner Avenue and Euclid Street.

The rebranding happened quickly. UCI Health has now officially purchased Fountain Valley and three other community hospitals — Lakewood Regional Medical Center, Los Alamitos Medical Center and Placentia-Linda Medical Center — and their associated outpatient locations from Texas-based Tenet Healthcare.


Officials said the total sale price was $975 million, in cash. The hospitals will now be known as UCI Health - Fountain Valley, UCI Health - Lakewood, UCI Health - Los Alamitos and UCI Health - Placentia Linda.

Fountain Valley Regional Hospital CEO Randy Rogers applauds in front of a UCI Health banner.
Fountain Valley Regional Hospital CEO Randy Rogers applauds during a ribbon-cutting ceremony celebrating the hospital’s new partnership with UCI Health on Wednesday.
(Eric Licas)

“It’s an exciting day,” Feilden said at a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Fountain Valley campus on Wednesday morning. “I love that it feels very much like a family. I know all of the CEOs are saying that, but it really does feel like today we merged with a big family. We were already a big family, but now we’re a bigger family.”

UCI Health also operates UCI Medical Center in Orange, which has been listed among America’s best hospitals by U.S. News & World Report for 23 straight years. Additionally, the academic health system is opening a new campus in Irvine; the first building, the Joe C. Wen and Family Center for Advanced Care, launches next month.

Patients of the former Tenet hospitals and outpatient offices can continue receiving care as usual at their local facilities, UCI Health officials said.

The acquisition adds 858 inpatient beds to UCI Medical Center’s total of 459 beds. In total, the five UCI Health facilities now have more than 12,000 co-workers, UCI Health President and CEO Chad Lefteris said at Wednesday’s event.

Fountain Valley Mayor Glenn Grandis speaks at Wednesday's ribbon-cutting ceremony.
Fountain Valley Mayor Glenn Grandis speaks at Wednesday’s ribbon-cutting ceremony.
(Eric Licas)

He called the sale a historic moment for healthcare across Southern California.

“We are, and our communities are, stronger because we are now together,” Lefteris said. “Together, we will transform healthcare delivery in Southern California. We will serve as an example to the nation, as we lead the intersection of academic and community healthcare. Together we bring the power of the brightest minds, innovations, cutting-edge research with a deep understanding of patient relationships and service from local physicians who are ingrained in these communities.”

Fountain Valley Mayor Glenn Grandis noted the former Fountain Valley Regional Hospital, now known as UCI Health - Fountain Valley, is the largest employer in the city. It has about 1,700 employees, 800 doctors and 400 beds, hospital chief executive Randy Rogers said in his remarks.

The hospital means a lot to Grandis, a 44-year resident of the city. He said his oldest son was born there 36 years ago. He also has a son who is autistic and nonverbal and has received treatment at the hospital.

“What an exciting day for Fountain Valley,” said Grandis, who is on the hospital’s governing board of directors. “On behalf of the city, we are just so excited about this.”

UCI Health President and CEO Chad Lefteris speaks at Wednesday's ceremony at Fountain Valley Regional Hospital.
(Eric Licas)

Former Huntington Beach Mayor Shirley Dettloff, the hospital’s governing board chair, said the entire board was excited about the move, noting that the goal has always been for Fountain Valley to be one of the top hospitals in the state.

“It’s not just a one-way street,” she said. “UCI is getting one of the best staffs in the state of California. We have the best doctors, we have the best nurses, we have a staff that supports all of these medical services. We even have the best security guards.”

Representatives from the offices from Rep. Michelle Steele and Assemblyman Tri Ta offered certificates to commemorate the occasion.

One of the stars Wednesday was Carlie, the hospital’s new therapy dog.

Therapy dog Carlie sniffs at confetti with her owner, therapist Mickie Shapiro.
Fountain Valley’s newest therapy dog, Carlie, sniffs at confetti with her owner, therapist Mickie Shapiro, at a ribbon-cutting ceremony Wednesday.
(Eric Licas)

People like dogs, and they also like confetti. Tons of it, in the UC Irvine colors of blue and yellow, poured into the air after the ribbon-cutting.

“We are deeply committed to partnering with the local communities and physicians in those communities, by listening and learning,” Lefteris said. “This journey is not one that will happen overnight — although some signs did change overnight, if you look around. I do ask for your patience. This is a lot, and we want to do it well, not just do it fast.”