Palomar Pomerado Health Board Endorses $753 Million Renovation, Construction Plan
The board of directors of Palomar Pomerado Health in Escondido, the state's largest public hospital district, on Tuesday unanimously voted to endorse a $753 million plan to build a new hospital and renovate the district's two existing hospitals to meet state-mandated seismic standards and accommodate a growing patient population, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports (Gustafson, San Diego Union-Tribune, 7/14). Under the seismic retrofit requirements, hospitals must guarantee by 2008 -- or by 2013 if they expect to continue to use their buildings for an additional 30 years -- that their buildings will not collapse in a major earthquake. By 2030, hospitals must guarantee that their buildings will not collapse in a major earthquake and will continue to function immediately afterward (California Healthline, 5/4).
The new $531 million hospital, which would be built for a capacity of 453 beds, would replace Palomar Medical Center as the system's flagship hospital. Slated to open in 2010, the new facility would increase capacity in the district's emergency and trauma departments by 60%. Meanwhile, Palomar -- which would require seismic retrofits to 75% of its buildings if it were to maintain its current 324-bed capacity -- would undergo a $73 million renovation to convert the facility into a mental health and rehabilitation center with 72 beds by 2012. Pomerado Hospital would undergo $139 million in renovations to expand inpatient and outpatient facilities and increase the number of beds from 107 to 211. The upgrades, which include a dedicated women's services unit, would be completed by 2009. In total, the projects would increase the district's bed capacity from 431 to 736. The plan also allocates $10 million to renovate satellite health facilities around the district. A detailed financing strategy for funding the projects will be released in early August, but health system officials say they plan to use cash reserves, raise funds, borrow money and possibly ask voters to approve a $500 million general obligation bond on the Nov. 2 ballot (San Diego Union-Tribune, 7/14).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.