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Hospitals in Northridge, Van Nuys Merge, Cut Costs

June 09, 1995|DANICA KIRKA | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Two San Fernando Valley hospitals are consolidating their operations in a move administrators hope will cut costs and improve patient care.

The management of Northridge Hospital Medical Center and Valley Hospital Medical Center were consolidated as of April 1, according to Dr. Myron Berdischewsky, the senior vice president of medical affairs over both facilities. He said cost management--and logic--were behind the move.

"We think this will better meet the needs of the marketplace and avoid duplication of services," he said. "We're looking forward to patients benefiting from this."

The Northridge facility will be known as Northridge Hospital Medical Center, Roscoe Boulevard Campus and the Van Nuys facility will be known as the Northridge Hospital Medical Center, Sherman Way Campus.

Although 15 mid-level managers lost their jobs in the merger, there will be more "front-line" health providers such as nurses and physical therapists, Berdischewsky said. He could not say how many. The two facilities employ 2,400 people.

The changes come at a time when Southern California continues to lose hospitals to mergers and closures. Since 1991, 37 hospitals have shut down in the six-county region.

Merging the two facilities, which are about six miles apart, should increase flexibility to cut costs, said Anthony Abbate, vice president for the Los Angeles region of the Healthcare Assn. of Southern California. At the same time, they will be able to maintain a presence in their respective communities, he said.

Berdischewsky said the hospitals' boards will meet next week to nominate new officers.

Both hospitals are owned by UniHealth, a Burbank-based nonprofit organization with 10 hospitals and $1.4 billion in assets.

UniHealth was formed in 1988 by the merger of the HealthWest Foundation--which owned the Northridge and Van Nuys hospitals--and LHS Corp.

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