The road to save San Clemente Hospital has been challenging. Our local communities have rallied together to keep our Hospital open, but we have faced persistent roadblocks. We have just faced another.
After 11,000 signatures from the community and 4 City Councils opposed closure, Senator Pat Bates and Assemblyman Bill Brough introduced legislation SB 787 & AB 911 on February 27, 2015 at the request of all stakeholders. This legislation, supported the community & MemorialCare. It would allow MemorialCare to operate an emergency department as a satellite separate from an existing hospital.
Our group supported the legislation as an effort to keep emergency services after MemorialCare threatened to close the hospital in the Summer of 2015. After 7 months of hard work the legislation was defeated this week with tremendous opposition in Sacramento. Here is a link to see the release from Senator Bates and Assemblyman Brough. (link to release)
“We want to thank our Legislators for carrying these bills and the 4 cities that opposed closing San Clemente Hospital,” said Gus Gialamas, President of Save San Clemente Hospital Foundation, ” without their and the City of San Clemente’s steadfast leadership our hospital would have closed last Summer.”
“MemorialCare has shown they want to keep emergency services in San Clemente”, added doctor Steve Cullen. “We have presented a ‘win-win’ solution to MemorialCare over 300 days ago, it is time for them to join the community and give us a hospital we deserve.”
These solutions and proposals have fallen on deaf ears at MemorialCare. In 2015 alone, MemorialCare diminished medical services significantly by; moving ER traffic to their other hospital, reducing staff size and the number of hospital beds, and neglecting maintenance on basic medical equipment leading to ER diversion or closure. This may all be done in an effort to make San Clemente Hospital look unprofitable and unviable as a hospital location.
MemorialCare have refused to release key financials to determine whether the hospital is profitable and whether their changes are artificially making the hospital unsustainable, thus slowly killing the hospital and proving their case for closure. Lets us not forget that this hospital is a non-profit hospital chain with billions of dollars in reserves and pays their CEO close to $2 million a year.
MemorialCare has conducted a political poll claiming that if the City saves the hospital it would cost taxpayers significantly, when in fact the opposite is the case. If they close, the City of San Clemente’s emergency transportation costs could rise by $1 million, meanwhile MemorialCare as a non-profit would continue to receive millions of dollars in tax benefits.
MemorialCare has to decide what is next for this hospital. Either close or join with the Community to save our hospital.