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405 Closure Not Affecting Hospitals Operating In West LA

LOS ANGELES (CBS) — Medical centers in West Los Angeles Saturday were operating normally with staffing in place despite concerns over the closure of the San Diego (405) Freeway.

"We are ready and fully prepared to handle any emergency," according to Shannon O'Kelley, chief operating officer of the UCLA Health System.

According to UCLA, more than 1,900 hospital employees were at work on time, 150 of which were housed in university dormitories and other nearby facilities.

About 50 employees at Santa Monica UCLA Medical Center slept in a not-yet-open hospital wing.

"We are grateful to and want to thank our employees who are extremely dedicated and committed to providing the highest level of patient care during this freeway closure," O'Kelley said.

In addition to providing housing for employees, the hospital system also stocked extra medical supplies and postponed some non-emergency surgeries, officials said.

Officials at the Department of Veterans Affairs West Los Angeles medical center, located adjacent to the San Diego Freeway off Wilshire Boulevard, also offered overnight accommodations to employees in order to ensure the medical center is fully staffed.

"However, access to the medical center will be limited, so patients and staff need to consider alternate routes during the closure," said VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System Director Donna Beiter.

(©2011 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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