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UCI Health Has Launched a Clinical Affiliation with Catalina Island Medical Center

AVALON— On Jan. 18, UCI Health and Catalina Island Medical Center (CIMC) announced a clinical affiliation between the University of California, Irvine’s leading academic health system, and Catalina Island’s sole provider of emergency, primary and acute care services.


The affiliation will build on a collaboration launched in 2016 when UCI Health began providing emergency medicine specialists to expand care in the medical center’s emergency department.


“Working with UCI Health raises the level and quality of care available to our community,” said Jason Paret, CEO of Catalina Island Medical Center, in a press release from Jan. 18. “This new stage in our collaboration opens the door to expanding existing clinical services and increasing our community’s access to specialty care.”


As Avalon’s only hospital, CMIC serves the clinical needs of Santa Catalina Island’s 4,000 residents and the more than one million visitors who travel there yearly. The Catalina Island Medical Group serves the island’s medical needs with full-time physicians and nurse practitioners who are supported by ancillary hospital resources, including diagnostic imaging, therapy services, nutritional counseling, and clinical laboratory services.


“We believe the successful relationship with CIMC in emergency medicine provides a solid foundation to explore the potential for UCI Health to support CIMC and the Catalina Island Medical Center Foundation in their mission to provide the highest quality healthcare for residents and visitors,” said Chad. T. Lefteris, CEO of UCI Health, in the press release. “This affiliation opens the door to [the] possible expansion of primary and specialty care as CIMC grows.”


The CIMC emergency department evaluates and treats 2,600 cases yearly, a 33 percent increase since the UCI Health collaboration began seven years ago. In addition, patients have consistently ranked CIMC’s emergency services as among the best in the nation.


CIMC and its predecessor, Avalon Municipal Hospital, have provided medical care at 100 Falls Canyon Road in Avalon since 1960. CIMC is one of the smallest hospitals in the state due to its unique island location. It historically has provided many of the health services typically found only at larger facilities. The original building had six beds and could serve eight people at a time. Subsequent expansions added emergency and operating rooms and laboratory, X-ray, and observation spaces. There are currently 102 employees. 


In 1982, a new wing was built, adding patient rooms, a space for physical therapy, and administrative offices. In the mid-2000s, the hospital completely remodeled the emergency and operating rooms and added new clinic exam rooms and space for physicians. CIMC also purchased a new CT scanner and began offering telemedicine services to connect island patients with medical specialists on the mainland.


Future goals include the development of a new CIMC hospital that will meet the state of California’s mandate that all hospitals comply with existing seismic safety standards by 2030.


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