San Mateo County Has Surplus of Hospital Beds, Task Force Finds
San Mateo County currently has "more hospital beds than it needs" at its two existing hospitals, even as plans for a third hospital have been introduced, the San Mateo County Times reports. Kaiser-Redwood City Medical Center and Sequoia Hospital both are planning to replace existing facilities with new ones to meet state seismic retrofit requirements, and the Palo Alto Medical Foundation is planning to build a new 100-bed facility in San Carlos or Redwood City. County Supervisor Jerry Hill created a task force to study whether the county could support three hospitals and how the addition of a new hospital would affect area residents' health care. At a task force meeting Wednesday, Wanda Jones, a consultant with the California HealthCare Foundation, said the county already has a surplus of about 800 licensed beds. Hill said that having too many hospitals in the county could intensify hospital staffing problems, compromise patient care and cause health care costs to increase, the Times reports. Art Faro, president of the Sequoia Healthcare District board, said that "ideally," the area would have "health care centers around the county that would feed into [a] larger hospital." However, he added that because people want hospitals in their own communities, such a plan is "not practical." The task force, which will meet again on Feb. 26, does not have authority to prevent any of the groups from building new hospitals (Zalev, San Mateo County Times, 2/5).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.