Seismic Upgrades to Cost Hospitals Billions, Safety Reports Say
Some Bay area hospitals could collapse in a "major earthquake," and repairing the facilities could cost billions of dollars, according to recent hospital seismic safety reports submitted to the state, the San Jose Mercury News reports. In January, 475 hospitals submitted structural safety reports to the Office of Statewide Health Planning. According to those reports, state-mandated seismic upgrades at Bay area hospitals could cost $3 billion dollars, while the cost of upgrading hospitals throughout the state could total $24 billion. The Mercury News reports that six of San Francisco's eight major hospitals reported that they are "at significant risk of collapse" in a major earthquake. Under the seismic retrofitting regulations, hospital officials must inform the state by the end of the year whether they will "retrofit" or replace their facilities. By 2008, hospitals with inpatient beds must be able to remain standing during a "major" earthquake, and by 2030, all hospitals must meet seismic standards or "face demolition, closing or conversion to outpatient care." However, with many hospitals already losing money, the Mercury News reports that "this promises to be a year of tough decisions for California's hospitals" (Feder, San Jose Mercury News, 3/7).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.