Hospital Site Under Proposition BB Would Be in Escondido, Palomar Pomerado Health Board Says
Palomar Pomerado Health district board members on Monday voted unanimously to build a $531 million hospital in Escondido if Proposition BB, a $496 million bond measure that would help finance a hospital expansion in North San Diego County, is approved in the Nov. 2 election, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. The ballot measure does not specify a location for the proposed new hospital. Under the measure, property taxes in the health care district would increase by $17.75 per year for 30 years for every $100,000 in assessed value. The funds would go toward a $753 million plan to build a new 453-bed hospital; upgrade Palomar Medical Center in Escondido and Pomerado Hospital in Poway; and create satellite medical facilities in Ramona, Rancho Penasquitos, San Marcos and other communities.
Opponents of the initiative say despite the board's pledge to build the new facility in Escondido, there is no guarantee that the district will do so because future district boards could reverse that decision. Other opponents oppose building a new facility, preferring instead that the district rebuild and expand Palomar Medical Center. However, that plan would cost $150 million more than building a new hospital at a different location, proposition supporters said.
Jim Vander Spek, an accountant from Escondido, said at the meeting that the board should "start over" by first "finding out what your constituents actually want and then present us with a bond proposition which would accomplish such goals in a way that is not confusing" (Gustafson, San Diego Union-Tribune, 10/20).
In related news, HMO Kaiser Permanente has endorsed Proposition BB.
In a letter, Arthur Flippin, area medical director for Kaiser, wrote, "We believe that the measure is critical to ensuring that the current and future health care needs of North County citizens are met." He added, "Keeping patients and communities healthy and thriving is a priority for Kaiser Permanente, and we believe Proposition BB will do just that" (San Diego Union-Tribune, 10/21).