Third San Mateo County Hospital Could Cause Unnecessary Competition, Task Force Finds
Having three full-service hospitals within a three-mile radius in San Mateo County initially could result in a shortage of doctors and nurses, but eventually could be necessary as the county's baby boom population ages, according to an informational report issued Tuesday by the San Mateo County Task Force on New Hospital Construction, the San Jose Mercury News reports (San Jose Mercury News, 6/30). Palo Alto Medical Foundation in May announced plans to build a $300 million full-service hospital in San Carlos. In addition, Kaiser-Redwood City Medical Center and Catholic Healthcare West's Sequoia Hospital have made plans to replace existing facilities with new ones to meet state seismic retrofit requirements. The Sequoia Hospital intends to add a parking garage, a medical office building and an additional 130-bed, four-story building. The PAMF facility, which is affiliated with Sutter Health, will include a full-service emergency department and an urgent care center. The facility also will feature a cardiovascular care center that will house Sequoia Hospital's cardiology and heart group, which last year agreed to join the PAMF facility. Both projects are scheduled for completion in 2009 (California Healthline, 5/19).
San Mateo 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. Initial findings from the task force showed the county already has a surplus of about 800 licensed beds, and additional hospitals could intensify staffing shortages, compromise patient care and cause health care costs to increase among area hospitals (California Healthline, 2/9). The task force's final report concludes that three hospitals would be competing for a limited number of patients in the short term, but in the long term would be filled with baby boomers. The task force does not have authority to prevent any of the groups from building new hospitals (San Jose Mercury News, 6/30).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.