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The Sacramento Bee reports that the four largest hospital groups in the Sacramento area are all beginning new construction projects to rebuild old facilities, meet state earthquake safety requirements and add new hospital beds to accommodate a projected population increase.

UC-Davis Health System, Sutter Health, Catholic Healthcare West (Now Dignity Health) and Kaiser Permanente are undergoing construction projects that will add a combined 3.5 million square feet to their facilities and cost about $2.6 billion. The projects are expected to add as many as 2,000 health care jobs by 2013 and already have created a boom in construction employment..

UC Davis Health is planning a new medical outpost in Folsom Ranch, a new tower at UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento, and just south of that, is part of the Aggie Square research/education project coming out of the ground.

UC Davis Health has purchased a 34.5-acre parcel, at the intersection of East Bidwell Street and Highway 50, in Folsom Ranch. This property expands UC Davis Health’s care in Folsom and offers a prime location for the region to deliver wellness, community, convenience and excellent care for patients. Initial plans call for an outpatient medical office building and, in the future, a micro-hospital, an ambulatory surgery center and a hotel.

The California Tower will be added to the eastern side of the existing UC Davis Medical Center. It will feature a 14-story hospital tower and five-story pavilion, adding to a hospital complex that has been expanding eastward and serving the neighborhoods at this location for over 150 years.

The project is envisioned to comprise a minimum of 332 inpatient beds including ICU and medical/surgical, Acuity Adaptable (ICU capable rooms), complex procedure rooms, and imaging and support services. The building option under consideration is approximately 909,000 gross square feet of new space.

Located on the UC Davis Sacramento campus, Aggie Square will house business partners and community-based programs together with UC Davis innovation and research.The first phase of Aggie Square features state-of-the-art research facilities, modern office and mixed-use space and world-class amenities. The result will be a unique live/learn/work/play environment that values inclusion, advances human health, enriches lifelong learning, develops emerging technologies, and sets the stage for creative collaborations.

An 85,000-square-foot building to house the new residency program at Sutter Roseville Medical Center is expected to open in 2024. It features a new three-story building located right outside the current emergency department.

Dignity Health announced its plans to build a new Medical Office Building south of Highway 50 in the new development known as Folsom Ranch. The new MOB will house a host of specialty services as well as an outpatient surgery center. The new facility is at Mercy and McCarthy Way, in the heart of the new Folsom Ranch neighborhood.

The Folsom announcement comes on the heels of Dignity Health’s unveiling of plans to build a new full service hospital in neighboring Elk Grove. City entitlements and environmental approvals are already complete for the future medical campus, and work continues in advance of the groundbreaking and construction at Wymark Road and Elk Grove Boulevard.

Kaiser Permanente’s Railyards project is part of the health care construction boom. It will include an 18-acre Kaiser Permanente Hospital and Medical campus; a Historic Central Shops District; a Major League Soccer Stadium; 5-million square feet of modern innovative office space, half a million square feet of retail space; thousands of urban high-density residential units; cultural and entertainment amenities like a museum and hotels; 30-acres of green open space and parks; and a multi-modal transportation hub.

Scott Seamons, regional vice president for the Northern California Hospital Council, said none of the projects is excessive, needlessly duplicative or unsustainable over the long term.

However, Maribeth Shannon of the California HealthCare Foundation added that large cuts in reimbursement rates from federal and state health insurance programs could make it hard for the hospitals to justify these new investments.