Report: Some California Hospitals Still Rated as Being Highly Collapsible
More than 40 buildings at 10 hospital campuses in San Bernardino County are rated highly collapsible in the event of an earthquake, according to data from the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development, the San Bernardino Sun reports.
The findings raise concerns about the effectiveness of state rules and hospitals' ability to fund construction projects nearly four years after an initial deadline set by a law (SB 1953) requiring hospitals to address seismic safety concerns passed.
The Legislature has extended the 2008 deadline several times to 2013, 2015 or 2020 for some facilities.
Some Hospitals Make Progress
State data show that five Southern California hospitals operating 19 of the highest-risk facilities might be making progress. The hospitals are:
- Community Hospital in San Bernardino;
- Kindred Hospital Ontario;
- Loma Linda University Medical Center;
- Redlands Community Hospital; and
- St. Bernardine Medical Center in San Bernardino.
Many retrofitting projects for these buildings are expected to be completed by 2015.
However, most of the planned fixes would bolster the facilities' ratings by just one level, which means it could take until 2030 for buildings to be made functional in the event of an earthquake.
Financial Challenges Hindering Hospitals
Some hospital officials have said that they are seeking to make their facilities compliant with seismic safety laws but that they areÂ encountering financial challenges.
Kathy Roche -- a spokesperson for Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center -- said thatÂ upgrading hospital facilities is "the right thing to do, and yet we're trying to contend with an unfunded mandate and the financial realities of the economy."
In addition, some hospitals that provide care for large Medicare and Medi-Cal populations are struggling to comply with seismic safety regulations. Medi-Cal is California's Medicaid program.
Tricia Griffin, a spokesperson for Catholic Healthcare West, said, "Many of the communities served by CHW have been among the hardest hit by the economic downturn."
Meanwhile, Jan Emerson-Shea, a spokesperson for the California Hospital Association, said about 80% of state hospitals could be compliant with seismic safety rules by 2015.
The Sun story was produced byÂ the California HealthCare Foundation's Center for Health Reporting. CHCF is the publisher of California Healthline (Schoch, San Bernardino Sun, 10/14).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.