Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Saving San Leandro Hospital: One Option That Should Be Taken Off The Table

On Monday, June 8, 2009, at the San Leandro main library, Alameda County medical officials have offered their vision of the future of San Leandro Hospital. Their presentation occurred during a meeting of the Eden Township Healthcare District.

In short, the Alameda County Medical Center (ACMC) wishes to transfer acute rehabilitation services from Fairmont Hospital to San Leandro Hospital, along with providing urgent (not emergency) care twelve hours a day. A summary of ACMC's proposal is on the Eden Township's website.

Under state law, Fairmont Hospital must be retrofitted to meet earthquake safety standards. San Leandro Hospital currently meets these standards. However, ACMC's proposal does not maintain the emergency room at San Leandro Hospital.

In my view, county supervisors should solve the seismic safety issues at Fairmont Hospital on their own terms. In 2004, voters approved Measure A, a tax measure to save county-operated Highland Hospital from bankruptcy.

Likewise, a bond measure could be placed on the ballot to fix Fairmont Hospital. The charge per household would be minimal since the cost of construction would be spread across the county.

For years the county has known that Fairmont needed to be upgraded. The supervisors should not solve one problem by creating another. Emergency care should not end in San Leandro to keep countywide acute rehabilitation care.

For background information on the possible closure of the emergency room at San Leandro Hospital see a recent East Bay Express article.

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