Monday, January 29, 2007

Medical Growth Model

With all the medical related activity in our downtown and close in areas, maybe this is a model worth examining for Sacramento.

Gordon proposes medical district
Downtown would serve as hub for biosciences
Ginger D. Richardson and Jodie Snyder
The Arizona Republic
Jan. 29, 2007 12:00 AM

Phoenix hopes to add another layer to its downtown-revitalization effort in the form of a mile-long biomedical district that would allow multiple hospitals, specialty clinics and research institutions to expand or locate in the city's core.

The idea, the brainchild of Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon, could have a significant and lasting impact on the regional and state economy.

An expanded biomedical district would offer the opportunity for critical mass, which could help in recruiting companies and research groups to downtown.

In addition, it represents a much-needed compromise that could soothe tensions between rival hospital systems. Two of the Valley's biggest names in health care are involved in a fight over which one will be in downtown Phoenix and affiliated with the University of Arizona's new College of Medicine in Phoenix.

But the proposal faces significant challenges, too.

First, it's long on vision but short on details for implementation. There are no cost estimates or financing. And there are indications that Maricopa Integrated Health Systems, which operates Maricopa Medical Center, one of the two hospital groups vying for the UA College of Medicine partnership, is leery about it.

"We have always said we needed to be within walking distance of the (UA) school," Gibson McKay, Maricopa Integrated's spokesman, said. "Now, they are asking us to be mile away. We don't know how that serves our patients."

The district would stretch from Seventh Avenue to Seventh Street from Fillmore Street to Van Buren Street.

While Maricopa Integrated may not be on board, the proposal has the backing of Gov. Janet Napolitano, Arizona State University and the University of Arizona.

"This is a vision that I really want to drive," Gordon said. He said he would ask the City Council in the coming weeks to develop a plan to make the idea a reality.