Hospitals Request Re-Evaluation of Seismic Risk Using New Tool
Sixteen Northern California hospitals have asked the state to re-assess their risk of collapse in an earthquake using new software, called Hazus, the San Francisco Business Times reports. The software uses factors such as soil composition and distance from active fault lines to evaluate facilities' susceptibility to damage from earthquakes.
The re-evaluations could open the door to delays in compliance deadlines for state seismic safety requirements.
Any hospital buildings that are rated as SPC-1 -- or most likely to collapse in an earthquake -- will have to be retrofitted, replaced or shut down by January 2013.
Any of the facilities that are re-classified to the designation of SPC-2 will have until 2030 to be retrofitted, while hospitals that can show that they are operating under severe financial constraints also can receive extensions to the mandate until 2020.
Experts say the requests from Bay Area hospitals, which are closest to the faults, stem from a general unease about high construction costs, labor shortages and broad economic uncertainty. Many experts also doubt whether the state will actually force significant hospitals to close if they fail to meet the 2013 deadline, the Business Times reports.
The Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development said the facilities requesting re-assessments include:
- Alameda Hospital;
- Alta Bates Summit Medical Center's Merritt Pavilion in Oakland;
- California Pacific Medical Center's three campuses in San Francisco;
- Eden Medical Center in Castro Valley;
- Kaiser Permanente's San Rafael medical center;
- San Francisco General Hospital;
- Sutter Delta Medical Center in Antioch;
- Sutter Medical Center of Santa Rosa;
- Sutter Solano Medical Center; and
- Sutter Warrack Hospital in Santa Rosa (Rauber, San Francisco Business Times, 3/3).
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