Gary and Mary West recognized very early on that the emergency department (ED) setting offers a unique opportunity to address the specific healthcare needs of seniors, providing better care and reducing unnecessary costs.
In May 2016, the Wests provided $11.8 million to UC San Diego Health to create the Gary and Mary West Emergency Department at Jacobs Medical Center in La Jolla. Later that year, a specially-trained medical team began delivering enhanced emergency services to qualifying patients over 65 focusing on geriatric medicine, acute care screening, urgent care, case management, and social and psychiatric care. The team also facilitates home- and community-based care options when possible.
In May 2018, the Gary and Mary West Emergency Department was the first to receive a Level 1 Gold accreditation west of the Mississippi—the highest and most comprehensive award given to a geriatric emergency department by the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP). The West Health Institute continues to help lead a national initiative to formally accredit emergency departments throughout the country, certifying them for practicing at the highest standards of geriatric emergency medicine.
In early 2019, UC San Diego Health opened the state-of-the-art Gary and Mary West Senior Emergency Care Unit, an 11-bed facility located within the existing ED featuring senior-appropriate geriatric care and other architectural design elements for older patients. UC San Diego Health and West Health are continuing to lead the way to wider adoption of geriatric emergency departments across the nation, ultimately improving outcomes and quality of life for seniors before, during and after a medical crisis.