Elk Grove’s first hospital could open by 2022, with up to 24,000 new jobs

California Northstate University will open a teaching hospital and medical center in Elk Grove, the private medical school announced Thursday.

School and city officials hope the hospital, a mid-size medical center with 250-beds spanning 475,000 square feet on an 11-acre site, will provide critical health care services to the rapidly growing suburb of Elk Grove.

With a population expected to exceed 200,000 in the next ten years, Mayor Steve Ly said it’s about time the city had a world-class medical center of its own.

“We will be training the next generation of doctors, and most importantly, it’s for the residents of Elk Grove,” Ly said during the press conference. “That in the event that you have an emergency, you can get to an emergency room as soon as possible.”

The hospital could create 24,000 news jobs, more than $4 billion in regional economic output and help the city rack in nearly $113 million in taxes, according to school president and CEO Dr. Alvin Cheung.

“Only a little bit ago, about a year and a half ago, I was called into the doctor’s office to have a conversation about the concept of a center, a medical center that would surpass the economic benefits of what the stadium brings to Sacramento as a whole,” Ly said during a Thursday press conference.

Now, he along with representatives of CNU hope to see the hospital completed as early as 2022, built just north of the Elk Grove campus located at 9700 West Taron Drive.

Although several primary care health care facilities operate in Elk Grove, the CNU Medical Center would offer intensive care and full emergency room services as a level-three trauma center, meaning patients could receive around-the-clock service from general surgeons and other critical care medical staff.

Currently, the nearest designated trauma center is the Kaiser Permanente South Sacramento Medical Center, which offers the same level of care proposed for the new facility.

The new hospital would also join UC Davis Medical Center as the only teaching hospitals in the Sacramento region. Medical students enrolled at California Northstate must complete clinical rotations at across various hospitals scattered across the valley, said Dr. Peter Yip, the school’s chairman of clinical medicine.

Opening a new hospital in town would not only centralize training, but may boost the number of physicians ultimately working in Sacramento County.

“Statistics show that if you’re from the area or if you do your clinical rotations and residency in one area, students stay,” Yip said. “And that’s what we want, we want that pipeline.”

First-year students Eric Jones and Raven Brower, who both attended the announcement news conference, said they probably won’t be able to reap the benefits as students, but hope to return to the hospital one day as faculty.

“Most of us want to stay and practice in the region,” Brower said. “I’m not from Northern California but most of my classmates are and their families are here and they want to stay in the region. It’s exciting to have a new hospital and new opportunities.”

California Northstate University has a track record, if a short one, of moving fast and aggresively on ambitous projects — the school opened Elk Grove in 2014, and a year later its medical school was accredited. The school also has an additional campus in Rancho Cordova.

The announcement of the new hospital fits neatly into the city’s ongoing efforts to build out a “bio tech district,” and would build off existing pharmacy and medical schools in the area to fuel job growth and attract medical research incubators and start-ups, said councilmember Darren Suen, who represents the district where the hospital would be located. During the 2018 election, Mayor Ly emphasized that the creation of a hospital would be a cornerstone of that endeavour.

Still, the hospital is likely many months away from breaking ground. A hard copy of plans were submitted to the city’s planning department Wednesday, and the planning commission and Elk Grove City Council must approve the project after reviewing its environmental and traffic impact, as well as its building design.

“I’m sitting here getting goose bumps, just tickled pink,” said college of medicine dean Joseph Silva. “It’s a win-win situation for students, for faculty of this hospital and for the population of Elk Grove and the surrounding areas.”

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Alexandra Yoon-Hendricks covers Sacramento County and the cities and suburbs beyond the capital. She’s previously worked at The New York Times and NPR, and is a former Bee intern. She graduated from UC Berkeley, where she was the managing editor of The Daily Californian.
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