Neil Nisperos, Staff Writer
Posted: 09/09/2012 12:23:48 PM PDT

Officials with the San Bernardino-based Inland Empire Health Plan have set their sights on Rancho Cucamonga for their new home.

The IEHP board is expected to approve the plan to move operations from San Bernardino to Rancho Cucamonga at its meeting today.

The Atrium at Empire Lakes property, on Sixth Street near Milliken Avenue in Rancho Cucamonga, was chosen as the preferred location for IEHP. The property is near the city’s restaurant corridor on Fourth Street and the Ontario Mills mall.

The cost of buying out the lease on current buildings would be $1 million, but CEO Brad Gilbert said the move would mean a cost savings for IEHP, which receives state and federal funds, in the long run.

Gilbert said the move is meant to accommodate space needs with an expected substantial increase in Medi-Cal patients from implementation of the Affordable Care Act in 2014.

IEHP is a joint-powers authority that organizes health-care contracts for San Bernardino County and Riverside County area patients, doctors and hospitals. Currently its operations are located in five buildings, four within walking distance of each other near the main building on Vanderbilt Lane in San Bernardino. It has about 700 employees.

“We currently serve 570,000 members and we think that by the end of 2014 we’ll be serving 850,000 members,” Gilbert said. “Medi-Cal is increasing over 50percent, so this is really very significant growth.

“Our decision was made based on the space planning and available property. It wasn’t about leaving San Bernardino to come to Rancho Cucamonga.”

Supervisor Gary Ovitt, a member of the IEHP board, supports the plan to move to Rancho Cucamonga. Officials said the goal is to begin operations there next summer.

“It’s a cost savings to move to this new facility,” Ovitt said. “First of all, this is the only (location) that had the space available to us and any other space, we probably would have had to acquire additional square footage, and therefore additional cost.

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