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UC, Irvine and UCI Health to build $1.3 billion medical complex

by John R. Fischer, Senior Reporter | November 18, 2021
UCI Health and UC, Irvine are building a $1.3 billion medical complex
The University of California, Irvine and UCI Health have set to work building a $1.3 billion medical complex.

Located on the north end of the Irvine campus, the 144-bed acute care hospital will include an emergency room, an outpatient Center for Advanced Care for primary and specialty health services, a Center for Children’s Health and the Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center and Ambulatory Care building.

The complex will work with the UCI Health primary care network in Orange County, making it the first healthcare system in the region to have the support of a premier academic U.S. research institution. It will complement the university’s flagship UCI Medical Center, which will remain in Orange County.

It will also be a hub for participation in Orange County’s largest clinical trials, including early-phase trials for cancer, neurosciences, stem cell-derived treatments, and internal medicine. Clinical programs will include oncology, neurology and neurosurgery, orthopedics and spine surgery, as well as advanced digestive health services.

“The people of Orange County deserve access to world-class medicine that is driven by clinical innovation and scientific discovery, and UCI Health is here to deliver it,” said UCI Health CEO Chad Lefteris Monday during the groundbreaking ceremony for the complex.

In addition to creating thousands of construction jobs, the new complex is expected to support thousands of new healthcare worker positions. The hospital is 350,000 square-feet and will be opened up in phases. The outpatient Center for Advanced Care and Center for Children’s Health will begin tending to patients in early 2023, with the hospital and cancer center opening in 2025.

The Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center and Ambulatory Care building will incorporate state-of-the-art cancer care and will be the location for Orange County’s only adult hematopoietic stem cell/bone marrow transplant program, which launched last year at the UCI Medical Center.

The UCI Health Center for Advanced Care, meanwhile, will cater to adult primary and specialty care needs and will have lab and radiology facilities and imaging services. The Center for Children’s Health will offer pediatric outpatient services that include pediatric primary care, subspecialty clinics and rehab and simulation services. The Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders will also be relocated to the Center for Children’s Health.

Earlier this month, UC San Diego began a 15-year construction project as well, to renovate its entire Hillcrest medical campus for $2.5 to $3 billion. The campus will have new facilities and technology built to increase capacity and expand care. The first phase will focus on the construction of a 250,000-square-foot outpatient pavilion that is expected to open in 2025 and will house specialty clinical programs, including oncology, neurosurgery and orthopedics, ambulatory surgery operating rooms, gastroenterology procedure rooms, advanced imaging, infusion and radiation oncology. The entire project is planned out over five phases.

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