SF needs quake-safe CPMC hospitals 

San Franciscans last week were reminded of the devastating 1906 earthquake and fire that destroyed most of The City and tragically took many lives. We were once again reminded that The City always needs to be prepared.

Seismically safe hospitals are key to our recovery efforts. Not only do we need to keep our hospital patients safe, we need to ensure that San Franciscans have access to medical services.

That’s why the California Pacific Medical Center hospitals project is so critical for The City. And that is why this project should be a top priority for San Franciscans.

In addition to public safety benefits, The City’s partnership with CPMC is an unprecedented investment in the future of our city that will move San Francisco’s health care system into the 21st century as well as create jobs for our city’s unemployed residents and community benefits for our neighborhoods.

Under the proposed development agreement with CPMC, they will receive permits to build two new state-of-the-art, seismically safe hospitals — at St. Luke’s in the Mission district and at Cathedral Hill on Van Ness Avenue. These projects will double the number of seismically safe hospital beds in San Francisco.

In addition, the project will inject $2.5 billion into The City’s economy, create 1,500 new construction jobs, another 1,500 permanent end-use jobs, and guarantee that we retain more than 6,000 high-quality jobs in San Francisco.

The project will also guarantee more than $100 million in community benefits to The City. This is an unprecedented commitment by any health care provider and reflects CPMC’s commitment to San Francisco to enhance care for all city residents.

Health care for low-income and underserved San Franciscans will be significantly increased, including hospital care for 10,000 additional Medi-Cal beneficiaries, which represents one-third of The City’s new Medi-Cal beneficiaries expected under federal health care reform.

In addition, there will be a $20 million endowment by CPMC for a new Community Care Innovation Fund, to support and improve the services of community clinics and other social-service organizations to better facilitate The City’s transition into Medi-Cal and federal health care reform.

CPMC will also provide the Mayor’s Office of Housing with $62 million to help create new affordable housing, replace demolished units and further our environmental sustainability goals by assisting CPMC employees with purchasing homes in San Francisco.

With the potential increase of hospital capacity and new jobs, we can foresee greater needs for transportation and pedestrian accommodations. That is why CPMC agreed to provide $20 million for San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency transit facilities and service, and $13 million for pedestrian safety and streetscape improvements.

Finally, we can be certain that CPMC will not pass on unexpected rate increases to The City’s Health Service System as a way to recover their costs of the project. As part of the development agreement, CPMC has agreed to cap rate increases to our Health Service System.

CPMC is what our city needs for public health, public safety and our economy. We need this project now more than ever. We cannot afford to get sidetracked and delayed.

Ed Lee is the mayor of San Francisco.

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