Saturday, August 30, 2008

Palomar Medical Center has been SAVED!

Palomar Medical Center, the heart of downtown Escondido, has been saved! Citizens for a Downtown Hospital are to be congratulated for keeping the public aware of the true condition of PMC.

"State regulators have pushed back the deadline for Palomar Medical Center in Escondido to meet new earthquake-resistant building standards from 2013 to 2030."
NCTimes: Deadline Extended to 2030

I have maintained that Palomar Medical Center needed only modest retrofits to meet State earthquake standard until 2030. Now the State of California, using a computer modeling program, has determined that even those retrofits are not needed, thus extending the life of Palomar Medical Center by two decades.

The current PPH administration exaggerated the problems with Palomar Medical Center in order to get taxpayer funding for an expansion required by a "trade secret" deal with Kaiser. The current PPH adminstration and board will be long gone before there is any opportunity for PPH to implement its wrong-headed decision to close the downtown Emergency Room, and other vital acute care resources. Thus, Palomar Medical Center has been SAVED!

Back in 2000, before the current PPH administration wandered into town, the cost of retrofitting the McLeod tower was a modest $3 million to $6 million. "'We're marching through the hospital stem to stern, looking at every square foot to decide what our future needs will be,' said David Owen, spokesman for the Palomar Pomerado Health System, which encompasses the 333-bed Palomar Medical Center in Escondido and the 199-bed Pomerado Hospital in Poway. Pomerado is in good shape. But there are two unsafe buildings at Palomar Medical Center, including the tower that houses a large number of hospital departments. McLeod Tower, built in 1967, will take by far the most amount of work ---- $3 million to $6 million, officials estimate. The tower ---- highly recognizable to passers-by ---- is in the center of the complex and could be considered the hospital's nerve center. It houses surgery rooms, oncology, radiology, mental health, pediatrics, orthopedics and the Graybill Auditorium. The Adams wing, built in 1957, houses administrative offices and is expected to cost $400,000 to retrofit. The problem, hospital officials say, is the non-construction costs, which have yet to be determined. Depending on how intensive the repairs are, those can include the costs of closing whole units and relocating patients, the costs to move expensive machines and the costs to build temporary housing for the displaced patients, doctors and machinery. 'The basic cost of construction is relatively minor compared to what other hospitals have to spend,' Owen said. 'But we have no way to guess what other expenses we are talking about. It might take $3 million to fix the wall, but another $3 million to $4 million to move all the X-ray stuff.' It's all going to take money better spent on program and patient care, hospital officials said."
NCTimes Article from 2000

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