When Cedars-Sinai Medical Center announced last Monday that itplans to take over management of two smaller West Los Angeleshospitals, the headlines could easily have read, "Man Bites Dog."
In these days of brutal health-care competition, it is largefor-profit health-care conglomerates that are gobbling up the smallernonprofits. But Cedars-Sinai, a child of the Los Angeles Jewishcommunity, has always been, and will remain, a nonprofit concern.
For this reason, the news did indeed make headlines. Under theterms of the proposed merger, Cedars-Sinai, with 800 beds, will takeover management of 190-bed Century City Hospital and 225-bed MidwayHospital, both owned by the Santa Barbara-based Tenet HealthcareCorp. Cedars paid Tenet an undisclosed sum to lease the hospitals for20 years. The deal has yet to receive final approval.
If it does go through as planned, Cedars-Sinai will become one ofthe three largest hospital concerns on the Westside, with about 20percent of the market. Hospital officials maintain that the mergerwill enable Cedars-Sinai to deliver health services more efficientlyand to negotiate better deals with managed-care insurers and medicalgroups.
The merger will not have a major effect on hospital cost or care,according to Cedars-Sinai spokesperson Charlie Lahaie. "Since thehospital will be expanding its surgical facility, there could be lesswaiting time for surgery," she said.
How was Cedars-Sinai able to bring off such a deal at a time whenmany hospitals, both for- and nonprofit, are facing massive economicwoes? One reason, say officials, is that Cedars-Sinai has what manyhospitals don't: abundant support from private donors. The greatmajority of these donors -- 80 percent, by one fund-raiser's estimate-- are from the Jewish community.
High-profile names in Jewish philanthropy adorn Cedars-Sinai'stowers and walls: the Max Factor family, Steven Spielberg, GeorgeBurns and Marvin Davis. Los Angeles Jewish business leaders such asBram Goldsmith, Joe Mitchell, and Irving Feintech have beeninstrumental in raising millions for the hospital.
"The Jewish community has always supported Cedars-Sinai and hascontinued to do so," said Cedars-Sinai Director of Development LarryBaum, "and we're proud of that."
Cedars-Sinai began life as the Kaspare Cohn Hospital, a last stopfor destitute consumptives; it was organized by the Jewish BenevolentSociety in 1902 and staffed by three physicians. Located amid theworking-class Jewish families of Boyle Heights, the hospital's steadygrowth paralleled that of the Jewish community. By 1930, the framehouse had been replaced by a new $1.6 million building, renamedCedars of Lebanon.
Today, Cedars-Sinai's medical staff includes 1,900 physicians andis one of the largest academic medical centers in the Western UnitedStates. Its endowment is estimated at $200 million.
Over the past five years, the hospital has raised $140 million forits building and research funds. In the second phase of its Fund forthe 21st Century, the hospital is aiming to raise an additional $160over the next five years.