Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital was awarded $135 million in grant funding by the California Health Facilities Financing Authority that it will use to expand pediatric programs in several counties.
The grants are funded by issuing bonds through the Children’s Bond Act of 2018, a voter-approved bond measure that authorized the state to issue $1.5 billion in general obligation bonds to fund the Children’s Hospital Program, created through the approval of the bond measure.
The CHFFA board, chaired by Treasurer Fiona Ma, approved the award during Thursday’s meeting furthering its aim of helping “vulnerable pediatric populations by expanding access to healthcare, inspiring healthcare improvements, and promoting pediatric teaching and research programs,” according to the treasurer’s office.
The funding supports “a significant expansion in access to care for critically ill and vulnerable children in San Bernardino, Riverside, Inyo, and Mono counties,” Ma said in a statement. “These funds will make a life-saving difference and improve health equity in our state.”
The stated mission of the Children’s Hospital Program is to improve the health and welfare of California’s critically ill children by providing a stable and ready source of funds for capital improvement projects for children’s hospitals.
LLUCH is a 364-bed nonprofit acute care pediatric hospital in San Bernardino County that serves as the sole children’s hospital for 1.2 million children. Its 84-bed NICU is one of the largest in the county, providing the highest level of care to high-risk pediatric patients.
The CHFFA award will be used to fund six projects that expand the hospital’s capacity to serve children in the four-county region.
The funding supports construction of a pediatric medical office building; expansion of a neonatal intensive care unit; relocation and expansion of the Pediatric Oncology and Infusion Center and a 48-bed pediatric Psychiatric Inpatient Unit.
The funding will also provide reimbursement of eligible pediatric equipment including, but not limited to, a surgical robot used for pediatric minimally invasive surgeries, allowing the performance of surgeries with greater accuracy and precision.
“With a growing number of children seeking specialty care, LLUCH has struggled to find ideal locations for its clinic sites and keep up with the growing demand,” CHHFA staff wrote in a report recommending the award. “Pediatric patients are currently seen at 14 different subspecialty clinic locations, most of which are farther away from LLUCH and have reached capacity. The new pediatric medical office building will alleviate these challenges by increasing the number of examination rooms from 130 to 150 and allowing over 15,000 additional patients to be seen annually.”
The award builds on a previous CHFFA award to support expansion of a Children’s Tower at Loma Linda. LLUCH was awarded a total of $172.9 million ($74.9 million under Proposition 61, the Children’s Hospital Bond Act of 2004 and $98 million under Proposition 3, the Children’s Hospital Bond Act of 2008) to construct the Children’s Hospital Tower at the Dennis and Carol Troesh Medical Campus and to purchase pediatric equipment.