The Gary and Mary West Emergency Department at UC San Diego Health last week was accredited as a geriatric emergency department, the first such accreditation in California and one of only eight nationally.

The accreditation from the American College of Emergency Physicians requires hospital emergency departments to have both physicians and nurses on staff with specialized geriatric training, among other stipulations.

UC San Diego Health received a Level 1 designation—the highest and most comprehensive level.

The health system has led a regional push for senior-focused emergency departments, as covered in this January San Diego Business Journal article. The movement looks to improve care, as well as save hospitals money through reduced readmissions.

Philanthropists Gary and Mary West provided an $11.8 million grant through their foundation to UC San Diego Health to create the Gary and Mary West Emergency Department at Jacobs Medical Center in La Jolla, where specialized geriatric care has been available since the hospital opened in 2016. Later this year it will offer senior-specific exam rooms and observation bays in the Gary and Mary West Senior Emergency Care Unit.

Seniors who arrive in the emergency department at Jacobs Medical Center in La Jolla are treated by a team of specialists in geriatric medicine. Their focus includes fall risk and cognitive problems.