Palo Alto Medical Foundation Announces Plans for Hospital in San Carlos
Officials from the Palo Alto Medical Foundation on Tuesday announced plans to build the first new full-service hospital in San Carlos in 40 years, the San Francisco Chronicle reports (Kim, San Francisco Chronicle, 5/19). The facility will become the third private hospital in a three-mile radius in San Mateo County, raising some concerns that the area does not have enough resources to support those institutions, as well as the publicly funded San Mateo County Medical Center (Koury, San Jose Mercury News, 5/19). The announcement of the $300 million, 110-bed facility "sets the stage for a battle" with Catholic Healthcare West's Sequoia Hospital, which in April announced plans to spend $130 million to renovate its aging Redwood City facility by retrofitting the building, as well as adding a parking garage, a medical office building and an additional 130-bed, four-story building. The PAMF facility will include a full-service emergency department and an urgent care center. The facility also will feature a cardiovascular care center that will house Sequoia Hospital's cardiology and heart group, which agreed last year to join the PAMF facility. Both projects are scheduled for completion around 2009 (San Francisco Chronicle, 5/19). Kaiser-Redwood City Hospital, the area's third facility, also has announced plans to rebuild, according to the Mercury News. County Supervisor Jerry Hill, who is leading a task force to examine patient demand for the proposals, said that the Kaiser hospital has a lower probability of losing patients tied to its health plan, while Sequoia and SMCMC could lose staff, doctors and high-paying patients to the facility to be operated by PAMF, which is affiliated with Sutter Health, the Mercury News reports. The panel is expected to deliver its report next week.
Sequoia Hospital President and Administrator Glenna Vaskelis said that the opening of the PAMF facility could "only drive up the cost of the services," adding, "We're at a time of shortages for doctors and nurses as well as pharmacy." Wanda Jones, president of the New Century Healthcare Institute in San Francisco, said, "People are looking at San Mateo County like it's behind iron bars or something. It's part of a region. It's proposing a minimal hospital that can provide the same services for a lot cheaper" (San Jose Mercury News, 5/19). PAMF President David Druker said, "Our commitment is to build a truly world-class facility here in San Carlos. You will not be able to get better care anywhere in the world" (San Francisco Chronicle, 5/19).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.