Scripps Hospital Receives Funding, But Likely to Stay Closed
To the surprise and confusion of Scripps Memorial East County officials, Congress has approved $921,000 for seismic upgrades of the facility, which shut its doors last June, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. "East County has sorely missed having a health care facility in our community," Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) said in a release, adding, "This funding should help Scripps, or other prospective health care companies that are interested in acquiring the facility, bring the hospital up to code and eventually reopen its doors for patients requiring immediate emergency health care." But the Union-Tribune reports that Scripps officials "wonder[ed] if Hunter understood the hospital closed because of reductions in managed care and government reimbursement levels as well as 'chronic underutilization' with an average 30% occupancy -- not because of looming earthquake retrofit costs." A Hunter spokesperson said Tuesday that the representative was aware of these factors, but hoped the funding "would encourage Scripps or another company to reopen the hospital." If neither situation occurs, the money will be returned to the U.S. Treasury, the spokesperson said. Scripps spokesperson Janet Lande said the company "does not intend to reopen the facility, and no buyer has come forward" (Clark, San Diego Union-Tribune, 1/10).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.