The Hillcrest Town Council (HTC) exists to share and discuss with our neighbors a variety of topics of interest throughout the year. Our September meeting focused on health, and gave participants the opportunity to learn more about the two major hospitals in Hillcrest, UCSD Health and Scripps Mercy.
Representatives from both hospitals were present at our Sept. 8 meeting, and shared some interesting history as well as future plans. Mark Zangrando, who also serves as the HTC’s treasurer, works for Scripps Mercy Hospital by day. He shared about Mercy’s 125th anniversary celebration, which is happening this year, making it the longest continuously operating hospital in the city. Dating all the way back to the hospital’s founding by the Sisters of Mercy, the hospital has always been committed to serving the poor and vulnerable, and pays particular care to focusing on “wrap around services,” meaning they are also concerned about what happens to a patient when they check out. Zangrando noted that the Scripps Healthcare system, which Mercy is a part of, is considered one of the top 20 in the nation.
We also heard from Brendan Kramer, chief administrative officer, at UCSD Health’s Hillcrest campus. While UCSD Health and Scripps Mercy are completely separate systems and facilities, he noted that the two hospitals collaborate when they can and are proud to be neighbors. The UCSD Hillcrest site was built in the 1960s and has 384 beds. While the UCSD Health System is opening a brand new tower at their La Jolla campus in 2016, they are still deeply committed to the Hillcrest site, investing about $20 million per year in new programs and services. UCSD Health has been actively involved in the HIV/AIDS community for decades, including the Owen Clinic, which was the first HIV clinic in the county.