On September 20, 2023, the Regents of the University of California approved UC San Diego Health’s request to purchase Alvarado Hospital Medical Center from Prime Healthcare. The acquisition of the 302-bed medical campus is expected to be completed in late 2023.Located at 6655 Alvarado Road, Alvarado Hospital Medical Center has served the College Area community for more than five decades. Its high-quality programs and services include a new emergency department accredited for geriatric care as well as comprehensive behavioral health, medical and surgical services.

“UC San Diego Health continues to grow its network of clinics and hospitals to better care for the community within new neighborhoods across the region,” said Patty Maysent, CEO of UC San Diego Health. “We are grateful for Prime Healthcare’s commitment to successfully completing this transaction to allow us to care for this important part of our community. UC San Diego Health looks forward to collaborating with the extraordinary physicians, nurses and staff at Alvarado Hospital and inviting them to be part of our team.”

Prime Healthcare acquired Alvarado Hospital Medical Center when it was in financial distress in 2010, and during its 13-year tenure invested more than $90 million in new hospital facilities and improvements, including a new emergency department, remodeled intensive care unit, expansion of critical mental health services and facilities, and new equipment, including new electronic medical record systems and state-of-the-art imaging technology.

“With significant investments and dedicated service to our patients over the past 13 years, Alvarado Hospital Medical Center has now reached the point where divestiture to a world-class academic institution like UC San Diego Health will lead to a new era for this award-winning community hospital,” said Kavitha Bhatia, MD, chief medical officer of strategy for Prime Healthcare. “We are proud of the care that has been provided and the legacy that will continue as UC San Diego Health expands access to specialized care, while preserving and building on Alvarado’s 50-year history.”

As part of its 10-year vision, UC San Diego Health is taking a systematic approach to improving timely access to its services and care. Already underway, UC San Diego Health is revitalizing its medical center campus in Hillcrest, where a new outpatient surgical center is scheduled to open in 2025. Planning for a new replacement hospital is occurring now. Simultaneously, new clinics are opening throughout the region.

“Academic and community health systems across the United States are experiencing incredible transformation as they combine forces to create stronger and more reliable networks of care,” said Pradeep K. Khosla, chancellor of UC San Diego. “This is a unique opportunity to create a more robust community-oriented health care model while expanding access to the nationally-recognized care of UC San Diego Health.”

UC San Diego Health will work with all regulatory partners to ensure a smooth continuation of care and will further develop clinical services in collaboration with Alvarado Hospital medical staff. There will be an early focus on behavioral health services and the behavioral health patient care tower. Planning for expanded psychiatric services will occur in collaboration with the County of San Diego.

“UC San Diego Health strives to improve timely and equitable access to safe and high-quality health care. Through a dual-track approach of welcoming existing facilities like Alvarado Hospital into the UC San Diego Health network, in tandem with the construction of new facilities, we will be able to more rapidly deliver the unique combination of medical and surgical services that defines us,” said John Carethers, MD, vice chancellor of Health Sciences, UC San Diego.

Immediately, broad engagement with the Alvarado Governing Board, medical staff, leadership, employees, and community will begin to support the transition to UC San Diego Health. Employees of Alvarado Hospital will immediately begin the process of becoming UC San Diego Health team members.

“More than 700 positions will be transitioned to employment at UC San Diego Health. Multiple employee forums will be held to help explain the opportunities and benefits of employment at the university and to help future team members navigate the application process,” said Tonya Jackman Hampton, EdD, chief human resources officer for UC San Diego Health.

“We look forward to a smooth transition and to integrating with the UC San Diego Health network of care and services,” said Hampton. “We are committed to creating an inclusive and welcoming environment where Alvarado Hospital team members feel welcome and cared for.”