Cardinal and gold colors swept through the Foothill communities of Los Angeles in mid-July as the University of Southern California debuted its newest member of the Keck Medicine of USC family, USC Verdugo Hills Hospital.
A kick-off celebration luncheon was held for employees under a tent on the grounds of the hospital, where employees were greeted by Tom Jackiewicz, CEO of USC Health, and Len LaBella, CEO of Verdugo Hills Hospital.
Amid red and yellow balloons and festooned tables, the newest members of the Trojan family took time out to enjoy a barbecue feast and a visit by the Trojan Marching Band.
“This is a wonderful change,” said nurse Maral Atashian of USC Verdugo Hills Hospital’s Med-Surg Unit. “The future looks great for us!”
The acquisition of this Foothill communities’ hospital, which boasts a 40-year legacy of delivering health care to residents in the area, was part of a larger strategy to address the challenges of a changing health care environment. Keck Medicine of USC offers the size and resources, as well as the innovation to improve care and reduce costs, needed by community hospitals to remain viable and competitive.
The addition of USC Verdugo Hills Hospital expands and improves Keck Medicine of USC’s ability to deliver community-based services.
“USC and Verdugo Hills Hospital both have long and enduring histories of providing vital medical care to our local communities,” said USC President C. L. Max Nikias. “By joining forces, we will significantly strengthen both of our organizations, and we will find innovative new ways to deliver the very best patient care to the people of the Foothills and throughout Southern California.”
The USC-Verdugo partnership leverages the strengths of each organization and provides valuable benefits to Southern California patients. Keck Medicine of USC offers the clinical excellence of an academic medical center and medical specialties that consistently rate highly in national rankings such as U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Hospital” rankings. Verdugo Hills Hospital provides a 24-hour emergency department, primary stroke center, maternity/labor and delivery, cardiac rehabilitation and imaging and diagnostic services. This type of integrated network helps patients get well and stay healthy by providing the right type of care in the right place at the right time. Additionally, their caregivers are better able to track outcomes and see the “big picture” when it comes to their health.
“This was the right move for both organizations, particularly in light of the changes that are transforming health care and how it’s delivered,” said Tom Jackiewicz, MPH, senior vice president and CEO of USC Health. “Bringing together these two very strong provider organizations creates a unique opportunity for residents in the Foothill communities to receive exceptional patient care from the physicians they know and trust, and from those who bring additional medical expertise from one of the world’s leading academic medical centers.”
USC has already made significant initial investments, as part of its $30 million commitment in capital improvements and additions in services, resulting in visible changes to the familiar façade of the hospital. New exterior signage, fresh landscaping and upgrades to the hospital’s lobby and other interiors have kicked off the first of many planned enhancements, and all have been met with enthusiasm from employees, physicians, volunteers and patients. A series of celebrations is planned, including a community-wide event on Sept. 28 to commemorate the alliance and showcase the new USC Verdugo Hills Hospital.
“Verdugo Hills Hospital has been an integral and valued part of the Foothill communities for decades and we intend to retain that important connection to our patients and the residents we serve,” added Len LaBella, CEO of USC Verdugo Hills Hospital. “This affiliation with USC helps to take us forward in a powerful way. It enables us to provide key services and advantages that not only help us remain viable, but to thrive in a challenging health care environment that demands constant evolution.”
USC, one of the world’s leading private research universities, established its present-day medical system with the purchase of two hospitals from Tenet Healthcare Corp. in 2009 — Keck Hospital of USC (formerly USC University Hospital) and USC Norris Cancer Hospital. In 2011, with a $150 million gift from the W.M. Keck Foundation, USC launched Keck Medicine of USC, which now comprises the three hospitals, a number of campus-based specialty clinics, five community-based ambulatory care clinics, a faculty physician practice (USC Care Medical Group) of more than 600 doctors and the renowned Keck School of Medicine of USC, the first medical school in Southern California.
With these resources, residents in the Glendale and La Canada-Flintridge areas will have greater access to world-class specialized care, clinical trials and breakthrough technology, while retaining the convenience and personal touch of a community hospital.