Major New Hospital Moves Forward in Irvine

By HCO Staff

IRVINE, Calif.—Plans to build a world-class, acute care hospital on the northern edge of the University of California, Irvine academic campus advanced significantly on January 21, as the University of California Board of Regents granted approval of the project’s 144-bed acute care facility, ambulatory care center and cancer center.

The build will be headed by Hensel Phelps Construction Company with CO Architects handling the design aspects. The hospital joins the previously approved UCI Health Center for Advanced Care to create the new UCI Medical Center Irvine-Newport, a full-service academic health complex that will bring a broad spectrum of the most advanced healthcare services to coastal and southern Orange County, including access to the hundreds of clinical trials underway at UCI Health. The medical center will connect with the UCI Health primary care network throughout Orange County, including its newest clinic in Newport Beach, creating the region’s only health system supported by one of the nation’s premier academic research institutions.

The new UCI Health medical campus will complement the flagship UCI Medical Center in Orange, home to Orange County’s principal tertiary-quaternary care center; only combined Level I adult and Level II pediatric trauma and regional burn centers; and specialty care at the UCI Health Digestive Health Institute and the Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center, the county’s only National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center.

“With today’s approval by the regents, UCI takes a giant leap toward fulfilling the visionary expansion of our campus and enhancing service to the community,” said Chancellor Howard Gillman. “Once this project is completed, the UCI healthcare system will be unparalleled in this region, with two advanced medical centers, nationally recognized research units conducting hundreds of clinical trials, and a network of community locations stretching to all corners of Orange County. In addition to the extraordinary healthcare provided at the medical center, the surrounding grounds of UCI Presidential Gateway will offer educational programs, academic research, art and beautiful nature trails. It will be a place to nurture health and lifelong wellbeing – truly advancing the three cornerstones of the university’s mission of teaching, research and public service.”

The new medical center will be the home of the Center for Children’s Health, wellness programs, urgent and emergency care, specialty disciplines, research and clinical trials, and lifesaving surgical and acute care. Construction is expected to begin later this year with the groundbreaking for the UCI Health Center for Advanced Care, a multicare facility that will house the Center for Children’s Health, medical offices and an urgent care operation.

The hospital will focus on key clinical programs such as oncology, neurology, neurosurgery, orthopedics and digestive health, and it will include a 24-hour emergency department. The first patients are expected in late 2022 in the UCI Health Center for Advanced Care, pending legal and regulatory approvals, and the hospital is set for completion in 2025. Costs for the complete project are expected to exceed $1 billion, funded by philanthropic donations, retained earnings and revenue from UCI Health operations. The project already has received philanthropic funding and will continue to seek further investment from community partners.