Hoag Irvine helping with job creation

IRVINE — Though much was made of the medical care when Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian opened its Irvine campus this month, city leaders lauded another aspect of the new center: jobs.

Hoag's opening provided a different kind of shot in the arm to Irvine.

"As mayor in these down-turned economic times, one of the top priorities has been to enhance and create more job opportunities to boost Irvine's economy," Mayor Sukhee Kang said. "And Hoag bringing in 900 jobs certainly is a great asset to the community, not mention the added benefit of the high quality of the hospital."

Hoag opened its 154-bed hospital in the old Irvine Regional Hospital and Medical Center space earlier this month.

Demand for jobs was astronomical. About 100,000 applicants applied for the open positions.

When those positions were filled, about 40% were staff transfers, said Robert Braithwaite, chief administrative officer for Hoag Irvine.

Those transfers came from Newport Beach, which not only served to "help establish continuity in the Hoag culture at the Irvine facility," but also created job openings in Newport as well, he said.

Additionally, Hoag Irvine will likely stimulate the creation of 1,350 jobs, Braithwaite said, citing a 2009 report from the California Hospital Assn.

This is what economists often call a multiplier effect, meaning that one large employer will create more jobs when others locate near it.

"A Report on California Hospitals and the Economy" found that statewide, for each hospital job created, an additional one-and-a-half jobs are created through the increased business and consumer spending.

"One of the hallmarks of our approach to providing community health care is to make sure the community feels ownership of the hospital," Braithwaite said. "We realize there's a special relationship between a community and its hospital, so we've taken steps to show the community that this is their hospital."

Those steps include meeting with local organizations, participating in community events, such as having a team march in the Woodbridge Fourth of July parade, and making the new facility culturally sensitive to the city's diverse population.

"And that won't stop," Braithwaite said. "You will continue to see Hoag out in the community."

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