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UCI's Problems May Slow Debut of Its `New Era'

March 05, 2006|Roy Rivenburg and Kimi Yoshino | Times Staff Writers

Some say the media's portrayal of UCI's misfortune is overblown. Mosqueda said she was frustrated by a "lack of balance in what's getting reported." By relying on "unhappy, disgruntled" sources, newspapers have presented a distorted picture, she said. The majority of UCI doctors offer excellent care, Mosqueda and other physicians said.

Chancellor Drake echoed those sentiments, saying that "all the things that go right" at UCI Medical Center are getting drowned out by "a very small fraction of activity."

UCI publicists point to a renowned burn center, a nationally recognized cancer-treatment program, a highly regarded diabetes center and the nation's only forensics unit for cases of elderly abuse. UCI was also the first U.S. hospital to be certified for a joint-replacement program, officials said.

For the last five years, the medical center has landed on U.S. News & World Report's "best hospital" listings. And Solucient, a healthcare data company, rated it one of the nation's top 100 hospitals two years in a row. But that status could be in jeopardy, said Jean Chenoweth, a senior vice president with Solucient. "Usually when there's turmoil in a hospital, it starts showing up in their data a year or two later," she said.

Mosqueda dismissed the gloom, saying. "We're looking at the mistakes that have been made and fixing them. I'm extremely hopeful and optimistic."

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