Hoag Expands on Claim in 'Greater Irvine' Area

By Orange County Register

Categories: Featured News
Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian is making an aggressive push to deliver comprehensive healthcare services beyond its traditional base in Newport Beach and put a firm claim on a market it calls “Greater Irvine” through a large development there.

Hoag Health Center Irvine, which opened its doors to the public last week, is the culmination of several years of planning and talking to its patients in Irvine and surrounding communities about their healthcare desires. The four-building center—which offers a variety of specialized healthcare services—is across the street from Hoag Hospital Irvine, which opened in 2010, and Kaiser Permanente Medical Center-Irvine, operating since 2008.

Hoag declined to disclose how much the project cost but indicated that donations covered a portion of the costs.

“What Irvine lacked then [was] high-end outpatient specialty care,” said Robert Braithwaite, president and chief executive officer of Hoag, a $1 billion hospital operator with its primary campus in Newport Beach.

Hoag Health Center Irvine has set out to address that through what Braithwaite calls “deep specialty care,” including a quartet of Hoag’s specialized institutes—the Hoag Family Cancer Institute, Hoag Women’s Health Institute, the Jeffrey M. Carlton Heart & Vascular Institute, and the Hoag Neurosciences Institute.

Some 60 doctors now practice at the campus, a number that is expected to grow to 100 when the health center’s fully operational.

“The patients wanted [the doctors] … they got tired of driving down the 55,” said Marcy Brown, a Hoag vice president who oversees the campus, which is on the corner of Alton Parkway and Sand Canyon Avenue, last week during an interview there.

Hoag executives see the new facility teaming with the hospital to serve Greater Irvine—a market area anchored by the city but also including adjacent areas in Tustin, Lake Forest and other locales in Central Orange County.

It’s a market with significant overlap of health systems serving OC. Besides Kaiser-Irvine, Fountain Valley-based MemorialCare Health System’s Saddleback Memorial Medical Center in Laguna Hills and Mission Hospital, located in Mission Viejo and owned by Irvine-based St. Joseph Health, see some patients from a similar draw area.

Cancer Care

Hoag has collaborated with the Norris Cancer Center, a unit of Keck Medicine of University of Southern California, for about three years, a factor that has influenced how it delivers care to cancer patients, according to Dr. Burton Eisenberg, Hoag Family Cancer Institute’s executive medical director.

“The purpose of the cancer center and programs is to [provide] a compendium of care, including early diagnosis,” said Eisenberg, who joined Hoag in 2013 after a stint at Dartmouth University.

Programs deal with a variety of cancers, including breast, gastrointestinal, and melanoma, or skin cancer. It also includes an early-phase clinical research element where drugs developed at USC Norris or by large pharmaceutical companies will be available for patients.

One of those studies, which is looking at advanced melanoma, is scheduled to open in the fall, Eisenberg said.

Other cancer-related services include personal risk screening for cancer, as well as a specialized dermatologist who sees skin cancer patients, and nurse navigators who work with patients through the treatment process.

“This gives us the opportunity to change cancer care,” Eisenberg said.

Hoag Family Cancer Institute also has some big goals—it aims to provide cancer care comparable to M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, an oncology hospital that’s considered the best of its kind in the world.


Hoag is seeking to bring what Eisenberg called “Hoag-ness” of care to its cancer treatment, making sure that patients are “valued and treated like individuals.”

Women’s health services include breast care, the Womanology and RestoreHim pelvic health and rehabilitation programs, wellness and maternal-child health, said Kim Mikes, executive director of the Hoag Women’s Health Institute.

Hoag’s breast center has relocated to the new campus from the Woodbridge neighborhood and will include two Irvine-based breast surgeons, Mikes said.

Mikes mentioned that one of the breast health services is a pilot program for “pre-screening” women ages 25 to 40. Doctors typically recommend women start regular mammograms at age 40.

Hoag Irvine doesn’t offer maternity services, Mikes said, although she noted that between 35% and 40% of Irvine mothers deliver their babies at Hoag Women’s Pavilion in Newport Beach.

The Carlton heart and vascular institute, named after the late philanthropist Jeffrey Carlton, whose estate donated $53 million to Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian in 2013, also is set to have a presence at Hoag Health Center Irvine.

“That’s one of our other themes—whatever you get in Newport Beach, you’re going to get in Irvine,” said Tom Lonergan, the institute’s executive director, operations.

There are some exceptions. Lonergan said that Hoag will continue to perform its transcatheter aortic valve replacements using Irvine-based Edwards Lifesciences Corp.’s Edwards Sapien valve at its main operation in Newport Beach.

Hoag was one of a handful of hospitals in the U.S. to get an initial designation as an implant center for Sapien after the device gained Food and Drug Administration approval almost five years ago.

The fourth institute covers Hoag’s neuroscience program, which addresses conditions such as spinal ailments, dementia and epilepsy.

“There will be multidisciplinary teams” addressing neurological issues, said Dr. Michael Brant-Zawadzki, the neuroscience institute’s executive medical director.

Sheila Parker, the neurosciences institute’s executive director of operations, said that one of its features will be clinical research, including 10 trials centering on Alzheimer’s disease.

Hoag Health Center Irvine also includes a medical laboratory, advanced imaging, endoscopy, wound care, gastroenterology, ambulatory surgery, and a pharmacy and cafe.