UCSF Medical Center at Mission Bay Project on Target for 2014

By Lisa Cisneros

At an open house of the Integrated Center for Design and Construction in June are, from left, Stuart Eckblad, director of project delivery, Cindy Lima, executive director of the Mission Bay Hospitals Project, and Mark Laret, chief executive officer of UCSF Medical Center.

UCSF officials are confident that UCSF Medical Center at Mission Bay will open its doors to women, children and cancer patients by late 2014.

During a town hall meeting on Dec. 4, UCSF Medical Center Chief Executive Officer Mark Laret says that the team is making “remarkable progress” toward realizing the plan to open the new medical complex in four years.

“I am confident that we will start construction on this project in a year,” Laret said. “We will not only raise the $600 million, but we will create a group of donors who will support UCSF for decades to come.”

Sam Hawgood, MBBS, dean of the UCSF School of Medicine and vice chancellor for medical affairs, also conveyed confidence: “This project will get done and it will get done on time,” he said.

A video of the town hall meeting is posted online near the bottom of the UCSF Medical Center at Mission Bay website.

So far, UCSF has raised $225 million – the most money ever raised by the medical center in its first-ever capital campaign. The goal is to raise $600 million in private donations as part of the financing plan to build the $1.6 billion medical center at Mission Bay. The medical center also will use hospital reserves, external financing and other funding sources to finance the project.

“I am very confident that we will achieve this,” Laret said of the financing plan.

For her part, UCSF Chancellor Sue Desmond-Hellmann, MD, MPH, has said UCSF Medical Center at Mission Bay is her top fund raising priority. On her first day as chancellor on Aug. 3, Desmond-Hellmann tapped Carol Moss, a seasoned development expert, to serve as vice chancellor of University Development and Alumni Relations at UCSF.

Mission Bay Hospitals Project at a Glance

UCSF plans to build a 289-bed, integrated hospital complex to serve children, women and cancer patients near its existing biomedical campus at Mission Bay. Upon completion of the first phase in 2014, the 878,000-gross-square-foot hospital complex will include:

  • A 183-bed children’s hospital with urgent, emergency and pediatric primary care and specialty outpatient facilities;
  • A 70-bed adult hospital for cancer patients;
  • A women’s hospital for cancer care, specialty surgery and select outpatient services, and a 36-bed birth center; and
  • An energy center, helipad, parking and support services.

UCSF will achieve its vision to build a sophisticated, patient-centered and environmentally sustainable healing environment “thanks to a committed group of very hard working community volunteers, UCSF leaders, development and special events staff and ultimately kind-hearted and generous supporters of UCSF,” said Cindy Lima, executive director of the Mission Bay Hospitals Project.

And while the project is well positioned to receive federal stimulus dollars for its ability to boost the regional economy, Laret says, UCSF is not counting on the cash-strapped state to contribute to the project. “The odds of us getting state dollars for this project are very poor,” he said.

For that reason, UCSF is working to shave off $100 million from the project’s costs.

Driving Costs Down

In fact, the ultimate goal of the Integrated Center for Design and Construction (ICDC), the project’s headquarters located at Mission Bay, is to do the advance work now to minimize change orders, claims and delays—all of which translate into higher costs, Lima says.

“We are making painstaking, yet excellent, progress toward our $100 million cost reduction through innovations, improved constructability, designing to pre-established cost targets and strategically taking advantage of the current market,” Lima said.

Stuart Eckblad, director of project delivery, leads the ICDC where more than 100 people, including architects, engineers, construction management advisors, project staff and 13 subcontractors, collaborate to integrate lean construction methods, implement the design vision of the architects and meet the operational requirements set out by hundreds of UCSF faculty and staff involved in the planning process.

The ICDC is able to drive down costs in part by using an innovative, three-dimensional building information software system that merges virtual plans for plumbing, electricity and ventilation, etc., into one integrated system, Lima explained. Whatever corrections that need to be made as a result of the merged plans are fixed digitally on the computer system rather than on the dirt at the construction site.

“Once the architects freeze the basic layout, the subcontractors virtually construct in their individual disciplines, running pipes, ducts, electrical conduits, etc. within the 3-D model,” Lima explained. “The various systems are merged each night and any conflicts among these individual systems – or ‘clashes’ – are identified by the software and subsequently resolved by the impacted teams.”

“What this means is that the typical problems which cause delays, claims and change orders during complex hospital construction are almost entirely worked out in advance through virtual building, collaboratively, in this model,” Lima said. “Not only will construction go much more smoothly, but the teams are able to improve productivity, identify opportunities for prefabrication and have real time information available for continuous cost modeling.”

Fulfilling a Bold Vision

For UCSF, the opportunity to expand patient care services to Mission Bay represents a significant step in realizing the long-term vision outlined in the UCSF Strategic Plan, unveiled in June 2007.

The Integrated Center for Design and Construction, headquarters for the UCSF Medical Center at Mission Bay project, houses more than 100 people working on the virtual layout of the new children’s, women’s specialty and cancer hospitals.

That vision is to enhance the delivery of care and patient safety in part by creating benchmark environmentally sustainable and flexible facilities that support collaboration between researchers and clinicians and allow for efficient and cost-effective hospital operations and better use of technology.

“Mission Bay needs to fit into the larger context of UCSF’s mission,” Hawgood said. And since the clinical enterprise touches on all four of UCSF’s missions – patient care, education, research and public service – building a new medical center at Mission Bay will reap benefits throughout the entire University, he pointed out.

Once the new hospital complex is completed at Mission Bay, UCSF will be able to expand clinical services at Parnassus Heights, operating two comprehensive academic medical centers and converting Mount Zion to an outpatient center, where a new home for integrative medicine and additional medical practices are under construction.

By locating the medical center near UCSF’s thriving life sciences teaching and research campus and the surrounding neighborhood of 16 biotech companies at Mission Bay, UCSF will have a unique opportunity to transform academic medicine, Hawgood said.

Among the anticipated improvements to UCSF’s clinical and research endeavors are:

  • Translating basic science into clinical practice more rapidly through increased collaboration among scientists and clinicians
  • Accelerating development of new diagnostic and treatment approaches for children, women and cancer patients
  • Training the next generation of health care practitioners using new tools and technology in facilities that foster teaching and learning and
  • Exploring opportunities for academic and industry collaboration to benefit public health.

“The next four years will be historic,” Hawgood said, adding that many people will be invited to share their thoughts in the coming months about how operations will evolve across the clinical enterprise.

UCSF officials are expected to go before the UC Board of Regents for final approval of the project in November 2010.

Photos by Elisabeth Fall/fallfoto.com

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