Bay Area hospital development in danger of flat-lining 

After a 6.7-magnitude earthquake rocked Southern California’s San Fernando Valley in 1994, eight of the area’s hospitals were so damaged that thousands of patients had to be evacuated.

It was, by all accounts, a disaster.

It took mere months for lawmakers to mandate that all hospitals in the state must rebuild their facilities to higher seismic standards. The deadline, initially set for Jan. 1, 2008, was later pushed to 2013, with some hospitals getting an additional two-year extension.

But 20 years may not prove long enough, as some hospitals in San Francisco and on the Peninsula race to retrofit or rebuild their facilities by the deadline.

San Francisco General Hospital began work in late 2009 on a new facility it hopes will be done in time for the 2015. California Pacific Medical Center, a Sutter Health hospital with four campuses in San Francisco and two more on the Peninsula, is on a “very tight timeline” to build two new hospitals.

St. Mary’s Medical Center and St. Francis Memorial Hospital, both run by Catholic Healthcare West, sent a letter last summer to the state saying they were unsure when or whether they would be able to retrofit their hospitals because they were facing such dire economic straits. If they do not get back on their feet in the next three years, they could be shuttered.

Hundreds of hospitals across the state face the same uncertain fate because the mandate to upgrade facilities was unfunded, said Jan Emerson, spokeswoman for the California Hospital Association. She said by one estimate, it will cost $110 billion for all the hospitals in the state to come into compliance — and the vast majority of that must be paid by the facilities themselves.

The association is pushing a bill that would further extend the deadline to give hospitals more time to make the change. Emerson said time is sorely needed because the recession has made it difficult for hospitals to secure funding for projects.

“We don’t know how this is actually going to play out because right now the credit markets are not willing to fund these hospitals,” she said. “The ability to borrow the money was already very shaky and now it’s extremely questionable.

By one estimate, 400 of the 2,700 hospital buildings likely wouldn’t be able to comply with the requirements, she said.

Already, $1.77 billion has been spent in San Francisco on upgrading buildings, and $470 million has been spent in San Mateo County. It will take another $2.4 billion in The City and another $836 million in San Mateo County to bring all the hospitals into compliance, according to California’s Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development, which tracks hospitals’ progress.

Even hospitals that have the money to rebuild are questioning whether they will make the deadline. In San Francisco, California Pacific Medical Center hopes to move its acute-care services out of three hospitals and into two new ones. However, it’s facing opposition from the California Nurses Association and the neighborhoods that surround the facilities.

“They don’t have a lot of screw-up room,” City Planner Elizabeth Watty said. “But I don’t think it’s mission impossible either.”

State of hospitals

Facilities across the state are at risk of collapse in a temblor. All statistics are as of 2001.

474: Hospitals in California
2,507: Total buildings in those hospitals
975: Hospital buildings deemed at risk of collapse in earthquake
56: Hospital buildings in San Francisco
35: Buildings deemed at risk of collapse in earth quake
49: Hospital buildings in San Mateo
25: Buildings deemed at risk of collapse in earthquake

Source: California Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development

Bay Area hospitals

Local medical centers are in transition as they strive to meet earthquake safety goals.

1. San Francisco General Hospital
PAST:
Three buildings at risk of collapse in earthquake. Voters approved funds for a new hospital in November 2008.
PRESENT: Still provides acute-care services.
FUTURE: Ground broken on new project in October; expected completion January 2015.

2. Laguna Honda Hospital and Rehabilitation Center
PAST: Seven buildings at risk of collapse in quake. Voters approved funding for a new hospital in 1999.
PRESENT: Still provides acute-care services.
FUTURE: New hospital projected to open in July.

3. California Pacific Medical Center Cathedral Hill campus
PRESENT: City and state planning process ongoing for new hospital at old Cathedral Hill Hotel site.
FUTURE: May be complete by 2015.

4. CPMC Pacific campus
PAST: Both buildings at risk of collapse.
PRESENT: Provides acute-care services.
FUTURE: Acute care will move to new hospital at Cathedral Hill in 2015; buildings will be repurposed as outpatient facility.

5. CPMC Davies campus
PAST:
Four of six buildings at risk of collapse in quake.
PRESENT: North Tower retrofitted in 2006 and is seismically safe. Other buildings still provide acute-care services.
FUTURE: Acute care will move from the noncompliant buildings to Cathedral Hill facility in 2015.

6. CPMC California
PAST: Eight of 11 buildings at risk of collapse in quake.
PRESENT: Still provides acute-care services.
FUTURE: Acute care will move to new hospital at Cathedral Hill in 2015; buildings may be used for other medical care or sold and redeveloped.

7. CPMC St. Luke’s campus
PAST: One building at risk of collapse in quake.
PRESENT: Still provides acute-care services.
FUTURE: Planning to build new hospital on current parking lot, to be complete by 2015. Old building will be torn down and replaced.

8. Kaiser Permanente — Geary
PAST: Five buildings determined to be seismically safe at least through 2030.

9. UC San Francisco Medical Center Parnassus
PAST: Five buildings determined to be seismically safe at least through 2030.

10. UC San Francisco Medical Center, Mount Zion
PAST: Two of four buildings at risk of collapse in quake.
PRESENT: Still used for acute care.
FUTURE: Buildings will be retrofit starting December 2010 and ending December 2012.

11. St. Francis Memorial Hospital (Catholic Healthcare West)
PAST: Two of three buildings at risk of collapse in quake.
PRESENT: Retrofit began in February. Acute care still offered in all buildings.
FUTURE: Uncertain due to CHW economic troubles.

12. UC San Francisco Medical Center, Mission Bay
PRESENT: City and state planning process ongoing for new children’s, women’s specialty and cancer hospital in Mission Bay.
FUTURE: May be complete by 2014.

13. St. Mary’s Medical Center (Catholic Healthcare West)
PAST: Four buildings at risk of collapse.
PRESENT: Still provides acute-care services.
FUTURE: Uncertain. Catholic Healthcare West has placed retrofit plans on hold due to economic troubles.

14. San Mateo County General Hospital
PAST: One of six buildings at risk of collapse in quake.
PRESENT: Acute care no longer provided at at-risk facility.

15. Kaiser Foundation Hospital, South San Francisco
PAST:
All nine buildings determined seismically safe at least through 2030.

16. Kaiser Foundation Hospital, Redwood City
PAST: One of two buildings at risk of collapse in quake.
PRESENT: Still provides acute-care services.
FUTURE: New hospital will be built to replace 149-bed facility; completion expected by 2013.

17. Mills Peninsula Health Center — Sutter Health
PAST:
Three of four buildings at risk of collapse in quake.
PRESENT: Two buildings have been retrofitted.
FUTURE: Acute-care services will be removed from the noncomplying building by December 2012.

18. Peninsula Medical Center — Sutter Health
PAST:
All 12 buildings at risk of collapse in quake.
PRESENT: New facility is under construction. Old buildings still provide acute-care services.
FUTURE: Acute-care services will move to new building by December 2012.

19. Seton Medical Center
PAST: Two of eight buildings at risk of collapse in quake.
PRESENT: Acute-care services still provided.
FUTURE: Constructing a new hospital at the same sight. Acute-care services removed by January 2020.

20. Sequoia Hospital
PAST: Six of seven buildings at risk of collapse in quake.
PRESENT: Acute-care services still provided
FUTURE: Construction on new hospital on-site will begin this year, complete by May 2013.

kworth@sfexaminer.com

Tags: ,

About The Author

Katie Worth

Pin It
Favorite

© 2018 The San Francisco Examiner

Website powered by Foundation