Palomar Health will work with Kindred Healthcare, one of the nation’s largest specialty hospital operators, to build a 120-bed intensive care unit at its Escondido medical campus, replacing the 22 beds it closed in 2020.

The project represents a major change in local health care, which has been heavily used in North San Diego County with facility closings or suspensions forcing many patients to travel south to the central hospitals that were previously used.

According to what Palomar and Kindred released on Thursday, the center will cost $100 million to build, is expected to open in 2024 and will have 90,000 square meters in three stories. The venue is expected to seat around 200 people.

Dr. Luke Bergmann, the county’s director of public health, praised the announcement, saying it will not only increase capacity in Escondido and the surrounding area, but has the potential to help relieve other pressures in the system.

“I wholeheartedly appreciate Palomar’s commitment to health care, making health a part of their health care needs,” said Bergmann.

Diane Hansen, CEO of Palomar, said in a statement that the project should have mixed results.

“This partnership allows us to rethink health and provide services to more people who need them, which is very important to us and our community,” Hansen said.

The announcement is an important step in the journey to restore mental health in North County, where the Tri-City Medical Center in Oceanside closed their hospital in 2018 due to financial difficulties that the government wants to fix expensive to reduce the risks that can hang, such as. such as a low ceiling in an infirmary.

Two years later, Palomar, which continued to operate a 22-bed facility at the original Palomar Hospital in Escondido, closed the facility after it was sold. Since then, many patients have found themselves leaving their communities if they have medical needs that require hospitalization.

It was not clear from the agency’s statement what the financial split would be between the hospital district that runs Palomar and Kindred, a private hospital provider based in Louisville, Ky., or whether the deal was approved by Palomar’s board of elected directors. The level of access to those covered by Medi-Cal – the government’s health insurance – was also not specified.

Mr. Hansen said he was traveling and could not answer additional questions about the project Thursday.

Expected to begin work in 12 months, the new partnership at Palomar is not the only project to be built. City planners in Oceanside recently signed off on a 16-bed, $20 million hospital on the Tri-City Medical Center campus.

The Tri-City location is expected to open in 2023 and follows the opening of two new acute care centers in Oceanside and Vista where patients can receive 24-hour care in a quiet and comfortable environment.

These first two facilities represent the first tangible evidence of a county-wide initiative focused on creating specialized mental health facilities in all areas of San Diego County. Plans, officials said recently, call for the next complex to be built in East County. The district is also working on plans to redevelop the site on Third Avenue near the Scripps Mercy and UC San Diego Hillcrest medical schools.

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