Sutter Health, Eden Medical Center
State of California

Guest blog from Ken Hinck
Eden’s Director of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
and Disaster Preparedness Coordinator

ambulance

We’re all aware of the devastating events happening in Japan.  News updates are available around the clock, and we can’t help but focus on the dramatic images of destruction, heroics, despair and hope. The events in Japan remind us again of the immense power of our planet. And we’re witnesses to the ability of the people of Japan, arguably the most earthquake-prepared people in the world, to cope in the earthquake’s aftermath.

Our focus rapidly shifted as events unfolded. Initially, we focused on the news of one of the world’s largest recorded earthquakes and, soon after, the destruction caused by the tsunami.  As the tsunami raced across the Pacific, we awaited the arrival of the tsunami surge upon our shores, amazed by the strength of a surge generated 5,000 miles away.  And now our focus shifts to Japan’s nuclear disaster and to the presence, no mater how unlikely, of any increased radiation here at home.

Chile, New Zealand, Indonesia, China, and now Japan, I’ve heard it said that the faults of North America are the only “Ring of Fire” faults not to have ruptured in the past decade. Although there is some small comfort in knowing that the type of faults we live on won’t generate an earthquake of Japan’s magnitude, given Bay Area soil, a significant earthquake can cause violent shaking in some areas. Depending on the location of an Alaskan earthquake, a tsunami could affect our coast and could raise concerns about California’s nuclear power plants located on or near active faults and the coastline.

So what do we do?

We take this as a wake up call and prepare! Our focus should shift from current events to our own preparation. It is not a mater of if, but when, a major earthquake will hit the Bay Area.  Ben Franklin said it best, “By failing to prepare you are preparing to fail.”  If we fail ourselves, we fail our family, and we can not help our community. And as we have seen, a strong community will be needed to respond and be resilient.

Our ability to provide assistance begins with individual preparedness. Studies indicate that responders first need to know that their families are safe so they may fully respond to an event.  At Eden, we offer our staff classes in individual and family preparedness so they are confident in their family’s safety and are better able to focus on serving our community.  I believe we need to increase the number of prepared families in our communities so that we are all able to take care of ourselves in times of disaster. When we are confident in our own family’s safety and well being, we are better able to reach out and assist others.

Make sure you have a “Family Disaster Plan,” that you have disaster supplies at home to provide for your family and pets for at least 3-5 days, that you have a disaster kit in your workplace and in your cars and never allow your gas tank to fall below half a tank. Find out your employer’s disaster plans for evacuation and shelter-in-place and how you will be contacted after an event. Contact your local fire service and inquire about Neighborhood Emergency Response Teams (NERT) in your area.  If they do not exist, ask about training and how you can form one. You can also visit the American Red Cross web page and enroll in their emergency preparedness classes.

Eden Medical Center and Sutter Health continuously prepare to respond to disasters, and we work closely with Alameda County Public Health and other health care and emergency services partners.  Our coordinated efforts greatly improve our ability to provide for the healthcare needs of our community. I’ll write more about how we prepare for disasters at Eden and within the community to ensure we are here when you need us most.

“It takes a lot of unspectacular preparation to produce spectacular results.”  – Roger Staubach, Hall of Fame Football Player

Cassandra Clark, Project Communications Director

shakemap2While California earthquake safety legislation is the driving force behind new hospital construction such as ours, earthquake safety doesn’t begin or end with new construction. For many years, Eden Medical Center has participated in the California Strong Motion Instrumentation Program (CSMIP) by placing seismic motion sensors in the building to gather vital information when an earthquake strikes.

Recently, the Sutter Medical Center Castro Valley project team reached agreement with the California Department of Conservation to place sensors in the new hospital once it is completed. The agreement is good news for seismic research, and it ensures that Castro Valley joins other Sutter hospitals with seismic sensors, including Sutter Coast Hospital, Alta Bates Summit Medical Center and Novato Community Hospital. New construction at Mills Peninsula and California Pacific Medical Center will also have seismic instrumentation to provide essential data on San Andreas fault activity and to record the performance of the unique seismic structural systems employed at these facilities.

The instruments are part of a statewide network of strong motion instruments that ensures any strong ground motion, from a moderate to larger size earthquake, in California will be recorded.

CSMIP map

Monitoring the Data

The CSMIP installations are advanced earthquake monitoring devices called accelerographs, which are placed at various representative geologic foundation materials to measure the ground shaking. When activated by earthquake shaking, the devices produce a record from which important characteristics of ground motion (acceleration, velocity, displacement, duration) can be calculated.

Accelerographs that are installed in buildings such as hospitals, bridges, dams, utilities and industrial facilities are selected by engineers and scientists representing industry, government, and universities. The program has installed more than 900 stations, including 650 ground-response stations, 170 buildings, 20 dams and 60 bridges. Many of these installations can be found locally along the Hayward fault (see map for more information).

The Office of Statewide Health and Planning and Development (OSHPD) arranged for CSMIP to begin instrumenting hospital buildings in 1989, and the program has instrumented 29 hospitals and health facilities throughout California.

Significant strong motion records have been helpful in shaping California’s seismic safety standards. Data gathered from the 1994 Northridge earthquake, for example, led to changes in California’s Uniform Building Code and gave engineers a greater understanding about the integrity of building structures after an earthquake.

An example of an accelerometer, placed at the Los Angeles Fire Command Center.

An example of an accelerometer, placed at the Los Angeles Fire Command Center.

About CSMIP

The CSMIP is a program within the California Geological Survey of the California Department of Conservation and is advised by the Strong Motion Instrumentation Advisory Committee, a committee of the California Seismic Safety Commission. Current program funding is provided by an assessment on construction costs for building permits issued by cities and counties in California, with additional funding from the California Department of Transportation, the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development, the California Department of Water Resources, and other agencies.

More Resources

To learn more about the data collection and dissemination process, visit the CSMIP Website. To view existing data gathered from recent California earthquakes, visit the Center for Engineering Strong Motion Data.

All photos courtesy of the California Department of Conservation.

heli-photo

The Sutter Medical Center Castro Valley project reached another major milestone with the official opening of the newly relocated helicopter landing site today.The site received approval for use following the final state permit inspection earlier this week by the CalTrans Division of Aeronautics.

On Wednesday, October 28, a small group of staff, Foundation trustees and donors, board members, and contractors gathered to commemorate the milestone with a Dedication Ceremony conducted by Eden Medical Center chaplain, Rev. Al Valencia. Overlooking the site from the top of the parking garage, the crowd cheered as the final blessing was made. Moments later, CalStar landed its newest medical helicopter to more cheers, and the Trauma Team assembled for training. For several hours, staff members and flight crews from CalStar and Reach Air Medical Services conducted training to ensure safe and efficient transport of patients from the new site to the Trauma Room.

The opening of the helipad less than 4 months after the groundbreaking is a remarkable feat by every member of the Project Team. But crews are wasting no time, beginning work immediately to remove the landing site, the last structure remaining in the footprint for the building project. Crews can now focus on work on the entire foundation of the new hospital.

We’ll have more news from the experts about the new site and the latest medical helicopters that are quieter, safer and better for the environment.

Economic Survey Shows 64% of Hospitals
Cannot Secure Funds for Seismic Compliance Mandate

The nation’s ongoing credit crisis and deteriorating revenues, caused in large part by governmental underfunding, is jeopardizing the ability of California’s hospitals to comply with state-mandated deadlines for seismic retrofitting, according to an updated economic impact report released today by the California Hospital Association (CHA).

The report, which is based on a survey of hospital chief financial officers (CFOs) conducted in April 2009, shows that 64 percent of hospitals report that they will not be able to access the capital necessary to comply with the state’s 2013/2015 seismic deadlines. More than a quarter of hospitals statewide (28 percent) have seen their interest expenses increase during the first quarter of 2009, while many other hospitals have been frozen out of the credit market entirely. As a result, hospitals throughout California are faced with limited access to capital and increased costs of borrowing. These dual challenges come at a time when hospitals are facing an unfunded mandate for seismic improvements estimated to cost up to $110 billion without financing charges.

“This report makes clear that revisiting the current timelines for the seismic mandate is essential,” said CHA President and CEO C. Duane Dauner. “The faltering economy is forcing all segments of our society to make difficult decisions. For many community hospitals, these decisions come down to whether or not they will be able to ensure that patients have access to care 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”

Under current state law, the state could force hospital buildings that are not in compliance with the seismic standards by January 1, 2013 (or January 1, 2015, if an extension has been granted) to close their doors to patient care. An estimated 900 acute-care hospital buildings, out of a total of 2,700 structures, face closure if they cannot meet the 2013/2015 deadlines.

In order for hospitals to access affordable capital for projects such as those related to the seismic mandate, creditors and rating agencies evaluate a hospital’s balance sheet and its demonstrated financial stability. Creditors also look for sustained operating results, specifically operating income of greater than 3 percent. In aggregate, California hospitals reported operating margins of less than 1 percent for each of the last three years, with margins in 2007 and 2008 in the red, according to the CHA report.

Among the factors impacting operating margins is a significant increase in the number of uninsured patients seeking care in hospital emergency rooms. According to the CHA report, more than 57 percent of hospitals have seen a rise in the number of uninsured patients during the first quarter of 2009, most likely as a result of rising unemployment and the loss of job-based health coverage. This is a 22 percent increase since CHA released its first economic impact report in January. Additionally, more than half of California’s hospitals are reporting a decrease in inpatient admissions and elective procedures.

In 2008, the costs of uncompensated care provided by California hospitals totaled $11.3 billion. Of that amount, Medicare payment shortfalls accounted for nearly $3.7 billion, while Medi-Cal underpaid hospitals to the tune of $4.1 billion. An additional $2.1 billion in 2008 losses are attributable to bad debt and charity care.

“California hospitals are not unique to the negative impacts of the economic recession,” Dauner noted. “The unfunded seismic mandate, however, places an extraordinary burden on our community hospitals at a time when they can least afford it.”

Access the full copy of the special report, called California Hospitals and the Economy — Ongoing Credit Crisis Jeopardizes Seismic Compliance Mandate.

Sutter Medical  Center Faces Costly Delay, Loss of Construction Jobs as State Deadline Looms

The California Nurses Association (CNA) has filed a lawsuit that threatens the future of the new Sutter Medical Center Castro Valley now under construction.

That the nurses union would sue to stop us from building our new hospital after a decade of planning is extremely frustrating to our employees, physicians, volunteers and patients who have worked so hard and so long for this,” said Eden Medical Center President & CEO George Bischalaney. “This political action by the union hurts everyone, puts thousands of jobs in jeopardy, threatens the future of the hospital and could cause irreparable harm to the community.

This type of action drives up the cost of health care for everyone. After an exhaustive and inclusive public process, the union’s lawsuit could mean will not be able to meet the State’s 2013 deadline to replace the Eden hospital. Not meeting the deadline could result in closure of current hospital before the new hospital is completed and certified for occupancy.”

The Environmental Impact Report and land use entitlements were approved by the Castro Valley Municipal Advisory Council, the Alameda County Planning Commission and Alameda County Board of Supervisors. The first phase of construction has been approved by the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development. Alameda County granted necessary permits and construction started July 1.

The new medical campus will create more than a 1,000 union jobs during the three years of construction and pump millions of dollars into the local economy benefiting many local businesses.

Construction crews demolished the vacant Pine Cone Apartment complex and began relocating the helipad and are readying the site for the foundation of the $320 million, seven-story, 130-bed hospital and regional trauma center. The new medical center will expand needed emergency and urgent care services. A new 80,000-square-foot medical office building for physicians is also planned. Sutter Health is financing the entire project with no public taxes or funding.

Sutter has invested more than $200 million in capital in Eden Medical Center’s facilities since acquiring the hospital from the Eden Township Healthcare District in 1998. The new hospital and medical office buildings would bring this investment in the regional medical campus and trauma center to more than $600 million by 2013.

George Bischalaney, President and CEO, Eden Medical Center

By George Bischalaney, President & CEO, Eden Medical Center

Health care reform is on the agenda, again. The stakes are high, but our President is determined to make some significant changes. As the discussion moves from general to specifics, special interests are staking out their positions. None of the stakeholders—hospitals included—wants to feel the impact or be at a disadvantage.

Amidst the demand for cost reduction and health care coverage for all, there is and must be continued investment in care. Physicians demand it. They expect to be able to practice with state-of-the-art equipment and facilities to produce outcomes that meet national, state and local quality standards. Patients demand it. They want to know that their local hospital has the right number of well-trained staff as well as the latest diagnostic and treatment equipment, and contemporary facilities.

With this backdrop of conflicting needs, Eden Medical Center is about to begin a three-year project that will result in the replacement of the Castro Valley hospital. The project cost is estimated to be $320 million. The current 55-year-old building is anything but contemporary. With few private rooms, small operating rooms and inadequate support space for clinical services, a new hospital is very much needed.

Eden Medical Center has served the community well, but it was not designed for patient comfort and needs, more for staff needs and functionality. While our project may seem ill timed given the uncertainty of hospital reimbursement, we are required to meet California legislated standards for seismic safety in hospitals. And it truly is needed.

We’ll celebrate our long sought goal with a ground-breaking ceremony on July 1st. Then we’ll spend the next three years continuing the investment in the new buildings and equipment, while observing and hoping that decision makers do not enact legislation that essentially penalizes us for the commitment we are making. When we celebrate the grand opening and our new beginning early in 2013, it should be with the same hope and dreams as those who celebrated the first ceremony in 1954.

Main Entrance

By Cassandra Clark, Project Communications Director

After much debate and public input, the Alameda County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to certify the EIR (Environmental Impact Report) and approve the zoning and land use entitlements for the new hospital to replace 54-year-old Eden Medical Center.

Passage of the EIR and land use entitlement approvals is a major milestone for the Sutter Medical Center Castro Valley project—and the communities that will be served by this new, state-of-the-art hospital and adjoining medical office building.

About 20 speakers addressed the Board of Supervisors about the new hospital as well as concerns about future plans for San Leandro Hospital. Eden President & CEO George Bischalaney expressed to the Board members the overwhelming support for the new hospital, even among those who encouraged rejection of the EIR to “save San Leandro Hospital.” Bischalaney and others urged Board members not to delay approvals in order to meet “a very tight project timeline” and advised the Board not to tie the new hospital project to the uncertainty around San Leandro Hospital’s future.

In the end, the Board of Supervisors maintained that its obligation was to make a decision on the land use entitlement proposal before them. However, Board members promised to continue to work with Sutter and the District to come up with an optimal plan for San Leandro Hospital, and to meet the health care needs of the communities.

We are grateful to the many people of Eden Medical Center, San Leandro Hospital and our communities for participating in this process. We had tremendous support at both Board of Supervisors meetings, through the petitions, and all the phone calls and letters of encouragement.

What Happens Now?

The Board’s approval clears the way for SMCCV to use the designated property to build the new hospital, which will be on the northwest side of the Eden Medical Center campus, adjacent to the existing hospital.

In the coming weeks, we will file the appropriate permits to begin work on the land, including the demolition of the vacant apartment building and other site improvements, and the foundation work for the actual construction of the new hospital. Oversight and approval for the further construction is handled by the
California Office of Statewide Health Planning & Development.

The immediate work around the campus will get the land ready for construction and help minimize delays so we can proceed with building the new hospital as soon as possible in order to meet the deadline for State-mandated earthquake safety requirements.

We look forward to moving ahead with the project. As always, your questions and comments are welcome on this blog and on our social networks!

By Cassandra Clark, Project Communications Director

To follow up on the May 12, 2009 Alameda County Board of Supervisors meeting, the decision to certify the final Environmental Impact Report (EIR) has been delayed to June 9th to address concerns raised about San Leandro Hospital, which is leased and operated as part of Eden Medical Center, but owned by the Eden Township Healthcare District (the District).  For more information, please see our previous blog post.

In the days prior to the May 12th meeting, after many rounds of public commentary, and after the EIR and related land use entitlements were approved by the Castro Valley MAC (Municipal Advisory Council) and the Alameda County Planning Commission, several community members and labor representatives raised last minute concerns about parts of the EIR. Those opposed to the EIR certification claim that there was not an adequate assessment of the impact of any possible closure or change of services at San Leandro Hospital, despite the fact that the EIR consultant and County planning staff have stated that the EIR is complete and the issues around San Leandro Hospital, while not related to the project, have no impact on the project. Supervisor Nate Miley made a motion for the Board to meet again to make the decision on June 9, 2009, which would provide attorneys for Alameda County an opportunity to examine these claims in more detail.

Supervisors Miley and Haggerty voiced their concerns about speakers making false or misleading allegations as a political tactic, in order to delay the EIR approval process, thereby “holding the Sutter Medical Center Castro Valley project for ransom,” which he and the other Supervisors warned could endanger the future of both Eden and San Leandro Hospitals. While there has been no decision by Sutter Health or the District on the future of San Leandro Hospital, the issue remains a topic of community discussion.

Eden Medical Center President & CEO George Bischalaney and other Sutter and Eden project team members emphasized the urgency of not going beyond June 9th to approve the EIR, as the delay of even a month could significantly hold up construction and may cause Sutter Health to withdraw its support from both hospitals. Sutter Health has already promised the $320 million to pay for the completion of the new Sutter Medical Center Castro Valley.

At the conclusion of the May 12th meeting, the four Supervisors present, with Supervisor Keith Carson absent, voiced their support for the new hospital project and the need to rebuild Eden Medical Center. They also are concerned about the future of San Leandro Hospital, and that concerns over San Leandro should perhaps be discussed in another forum, unrelated to the land use entitlements for Eden.

As our project team discussed in previous articles and blog posts and at the hearing, any delays in approvals and construction have serious repercussions, in terms of meeting state deadlines to rebuild, in creating a safe environment for patients and staff, and in funding this major project. The new hospital must be rebuilt, or it will close as an acute care facility effective January 1, 2013. We now have before us a fully funded hospital project—without public funding or taxes—that will secure the future of Eden Medical Center, preserve jobs and bring nearly 1,000 construction jobs to the region at a time when the economy is depressed and construction is drying up.

As I stated before, the issues around San Leandro Hospital are complex and important.  The community has a right to know what is happening. But the information being discussed now is no different that it has been for the past several years: the hospital is struggling and must be reinvented to bring value to the community and ensure that it can sustain itself over time.  It is clear to me that the residents of San Leandro desire a full service community hospital, yet the majority of them will never use it. The community and local elected officials have known that this is a concern, and yet this last minute effort to stop the EIR based on what some claim to be “new information” is not justified. San Leandro Hospital, its employees, physicians and patients need to be part of the solution for the hospital, to be discussed in its own forum with regional providers who can bring truth and substance to the discussion.  It should not be used as a political maneuver to stop Sutter Health from rebuilding Eden.

Please speak up, let our Board of Supervisors know they must not delay any further.  These delays put both hospitals in jeopardy. I encourage you to stand up and let your voice be heard on this issue.  Don’t just wait for the next hearing, but instead pick up the phone or send a letter to the Board and let them know you support the new hospital project, and encourage them to certify the EIR so the project can move forward before it’s too late.

Call today!

Supervisor Nate Miley — 510-272-6694

Supervisor Alice Lai-Bitker — 510-272-6693

Supervisor Gail Steele — 510-272-6692

Supervisor Keith Carson — 510-272-6695

Supervisor Scott Haggerty — 510-272-6691

By Digby Christian, Project Team Leader

We are proud to tell you that on April 7, 2009, the Sutter Medical Center Castro Valley (SMCCV) project team received the 2008 FIATECH CETI Award at the award gala held in Las Vegas.

FIATECH is an industry consortium within the building industry. Its primary mission is to get all the “players” involved in capital projects to adopt new ways of thinking and new technologies to deliver higher value for the funders and end-users of construction projects.

Here is why our team won the award…

As most of our readers know, California’s deadline for retrofitting or building earthquake-proof hospitals from scratch is 2013, less than four years from now. The hospital project in its current form was validated as viable in August 2007, and design work was authorized to start in October of that year, leaving us just over five years to have the building be ready and open for business. Typically, in California, it takes at least seven years for a project of this magnitude.

So the team had to throw out all historical concepts of how design is done and come together as a wide-ranging, multi-company team involving the owner, the designers and the builders, and transform the design and construction process to drive two years out of the schedule. The team is now on track to achieve just that and did it primarily by redesigning the design process in a rigorous and unrelenting fashion, so that it no longer bears any real resemblance to tradition!

If you are familiar with the classic design process, you’ll know that it’s typically abbreviated as “SD-DD-CD”: Schematic Design (broad concepts typically discussed and agreed to by the owner and the architect exclusively); Design Development (often a General Contractor might have some involvement in this); and Construction Drawings (some trades might be brought on board to inform how these are put together). Then, the work goes out to the building community and those companies develop what are known as Shop Drawings. These drawings show in detail how every little and large item in the building will be fabricated, i.e., the structural elements, including steel, metal, glass, concrete, etc.

On the SMCCV project, all of the people who typically are brought in at the end are already on board, and most of them have been on board since August 2007. By the time this project completes its approval process through the County and State we will already be at the Shop Drawing stage. The building is being designed for fabrication now, while the design approval process is underway.

While this concept has been discussed for the last few years within the industry, and parts of the above have been implemented on other projects, no project has implemented this concept as broadly and as deeply as the SMCCV project; certainly not on a project this large and this complex. It is one of the reasons our project won the FIATECH award!

The other primary reason we won the award is because of how thoroughly the building has been designed in three dimensions (as opposed to the typical two dimensional paper drawings we are used to seeing). There are many very attractive shots of 3D design that you can find on websites, and in trade magazines but you can’t tell if the designs are any good—all you know is they look “cool.” But on the SMCCV project, we bring the entire team together at least every two weeks to work through the coordination effort. It’s painstaking and difficult, but utterly critical to a successful outcome in a shorter timeframe.

What is not often understood outside the industry, and to some extent even within the industry, is that different design disciplines use different software, and they can’t see each other’s work in real time while they are designing. Each company has to either import a converted file of each other’s work or send both files to a third package, such as Autodesk Navisworks, to see both designs at the same time. So it’s all too easy to have a poorly coordinated, unbuildable, three dimensional design—no different in fact than having a poorly coordinated, unbuildable, two dimensional design.

In addition, we have focused the team on the larger goal of designing for fabrication rather than the industry convention of designing to produce the construction documentation, which is then coordinated by the construction team. The team’s goal to design for fabrication means we are swimming against the tide. We are allowing our companies to each use their own best-in-class software and then developing a process that allows a high level of coordination and constructability to ensure that what is being designed is actually what we will build.

The above might seem dry and technical; however, by a) having a multi-company team involving all the construction trades from day one; b) throwing out the baggage of a poor design process and starting from scratch to build a better one; and c) having a goal of designing for fabrication will allow us to build a new hospital on schedule, within budget, and without any last minute compromises on the finished product.

On the Sutter Medical Center Castro Valley project, we are breaking new ground ahead of any other project in the country in the way such projects are handled. That, in essence is the reason why the team that is building your hospital won the 2008 FIATECH CETI Award.

In addition to the Sutter Health project team, I want to personally thank The Devenney Group, DPR Construction, Capital Engineering, The Engineering Enterprise, TMAD Taylor & Gaines, GHAFARI Associates, J W McClenahan, Morrow Meadows, Superior Air Handling, MPS Project Management, Navigant Consulting, Greenwood & Moore Engineering, Herrick Steel, Otis Elevators, Strategic Project Solutions, Royal Glass, Clark Pacific, Candela, Sparling, and numerous other specialty trade vendors for making it possible to receive this award—and to meet our 2013 deadline!

For all you construction buffs, or for anyone who is interested, check out FIATECH at http://www.fiatech.org/.

I welcome your questions and comments!

revised-rendering-1-1.jpg

By Cassandra Clark, Project Communications Director

This week, the Alameda County Planning Department presented the final Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for Sutter Castro Valley Medical Center and related documents to the Castro Valley Municipal Advisory Council for review and approval. The Council is an advisory board of seven community members who work on behalf of the unincorporated town of Castro Valley and serves as advisor to Alameda County Supervisor Nate Miley.

This is one more essential step toward approvals to allow the new hospital project to move forward. The meeting drew a large crowd interested in the future of Eden Medical Center and in health care in the region. Many audience members spoke highly of the project and showed their support for Eden and the new hospital.

There were several members of the audience in attendance who voiced their concerns about the future of San Leandro Hospital, located 4.5 miles from Eden and struggling to survive in these tough economic times. The 93-bed hospital is part of Eden Medical Center and provides services to the San Leandro community.

There has been much discussion about the future of this hospital due to significant financial losses and decreased utilization. While the future of San Leandro Hospital is still unknown, it is clear that it cannot continue as it is today.  Sutter Health and the Eden Township Health Care District (the owner of San Leandro Hospital) are working toward a solution for the hospital so that it continues to provide health care services in a way that meets the needs of the community.

While members voiced their concerns about San Leandro Hospital, they moved forward and approved the issue before them: the land use entitlements and EIR for the Castro Valley project. There was no opposition based on the merits of the project, the land use, nor the environmental impact. What the Council did ask was for the Board of Supervisors, in their approval process, to consider if San Leandro Hospital’s future has an impact on this project.

The next step in the approval process is the Alameda County Planning Commission (April 6) and the Board of Supervisors (April 28)—and both of these are opportunities for us to address how this project will serve the region’s health care needs. But without these land use approvals, the Castro Valley project cannot move forward. And, as we have stated so many times before, this essential project must advance on an accelerated timeline in order to meet the state-mandated deadline of January 1, 2013. After that date, the existing hospital can no longer function as an acute care hospital and must close its doors.

Solving health care problems requires intensive and collaborative efforts. It’s a regional issue, not one that can be solved by one organization alone. What is certain is that we have a new hospital project before us that is fully funded, without tax or public funds, and the first to come forward in Alameda County to meet the State’s earthquake safety standards. It is an amazing project, and one that should not be held back while health care providers in the region work toward a viable solution for San Leandro and other hospitals that are struggling to survive.

We’ll have more information on these issues as they evolve, from experts far more experienced than me. So, in the meantime, I encourage you to view the video prepared for the Castro Valley Municipal Advisory Council by our architects, the Devenney Group. The animation is a fly-over and fly-through of the new hospital and campus. Enjoy!


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