Health Officials Approve Plan to Replace S.F. General
San Francisco health commissioners on Monday unanimously approved a plan to replace San Francisco General Hospital with a new $465 million medical center, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Public health officials and Mayor Willie Brown (D) have agreed that building a new facility would cost less than upgrading the existing facility to meet the state's seismic standards. The project would be financed through a taxpayer-supported bond. However, the plan must be approved by the board of supervisors, and some members have "questioned the wisdom of increasing the city's bond debt." Last year, voters approved a $299 million bond measure to rebuild Laguna Honda Hospital, and officials agreed that convincing voters to pay for the new facility "could be tough." Public Health Director Dr. Mitchell Katz said, "Although the dollar amount associated with the proposal is a large one, this is the best choice." Katz added that he is "confident" that the state Legislature and the Federal Emergency Management Agency will provide some funding. He added, "It's inevitable because the state will not tolerate a large number of hospital closings." Facing a Dec. 31 deadline for submitting plans to the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development, city officials said planning for the facility will start "immediately." In addition, the city must draft the bond proposal by June so it can be placed on the November ballot (Squatriglia, San Francisco Chronicle, 1/10).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.