UCLA Medical Center Undeterred by Carmageddon

More than 1,900 hospital employees were at work on time today, with more than 150 nurses and other workers sleeping in UCLA dorms.

According to UCLA, more than 1,900 hospital employees were at work on time today. More than 150 nurses and other workers slept in UCLA dorms, other facilities or in sections of the hospitals Friday night so they could avoid the possibility of traffic jams.

About 50 employees at Santa Monica UCLA Medical Center slept in a not-yet-open hospital wing.

``We are grateful to and want to thank our employees who are extremely dedicated and committed to providing the highest level of patient care during this freeway closure,'' O'Kelley said.

Extra: Carmageddon Survival Kit

In addition to providing housing for employees, the hospital system also stocked extra medical supplies and postponed some non-emergency surgeries, officials said.

Officials at the Department of Veterans Affairs West Los Angeles medical center, located adjacent to the San Diego Freeway off Wilshire Boulevard, also offered overnight accommodations to employees in order to ensure the medical center is fully staffed.

With three emergency care centers, a tertiary care facility and 10 outpatient clinics, the West Los Angeles veterans campus is the largest health care system in the entire Department of Veterans Affairs. About 72,000 veterans were sent letters alerting them to the freeway closure.

``However, access to the medical center will be limited, so patients and staff need to consider alternate routes during the closure,'' said VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System Director Donna Beiter.

In June, an official with the Santa Monica-UCLA Medical Center accused the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which is coordinating the freeway closure, and police officials of not doing enough to ensure that about 1,500 hospital workers will be able to get to their jobs during the weekend.

But O'Kelley said earlier this month that the hospital is prepared for the closure.

``I can't imagine any other hospital in the United States being better prepared for disaster than we are. I have no concerns,'' O'Kelley said.

Copyright CNS - City News Service
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