San Francisco officials announce plans for CPMC hospitals

A model of the new California Pacific Medical Center.
March 5, 2013 8:00:23 PM PST
After years of on-again, off-again negotiations San Francisco has reached an agreement with California Pacific Medical Center to refurbish one hospital and build a new one in the city.

"The transaction, I believe, is a win-win," said San Francisco bakery owner Lou Giraudo, who helped broker the deal that allows CPMC to build two new seismically safe hospitals after years of controversy and contention.

"There was more than one time when everybody felt justified in walking away and I'm glad that they found reasons to come back because these institutions are incredibly important to our city," said Mayor Ed Lee.

St. Luke's has been a fixture in the Mission District, taking care of the medically underserved for more than 100 years and its future had been uncertain.

"We want St. Luke's to be a world class hospital. This deal ensures that we get that," said Supervisor David Campos.

Now as part of a $2 billion project, St. Luke's will be rebuilt and offer 120 beds rather than 80 called for in a previous plan.

California Pacific's other hospital that's to be built on the site of the old Cathedral Hill Hotel will be downsized to no more than 304 beds rather than 555.

"While smaller, this does reflect the concerns of the local neighborhood. Traffic congestion concerns," said Supervisor Mark Farrell.

Under the compromise California Pacific will continue its charity care, and will contribute millions to the city in community benefits.

"We are very much looking forward to actually the final steps going through the board and putting shovels in the ground, we hope, sometime in 2013," said Warren Browner of CPMC.

The new plan did not come without a fight from community activists worried about the fate of St. Luke's. Jane Sandoval is board member of the California Nurses Association, who works at St. Luke's and is still skeptical.

"In 2010 we were slotted for closure. If we didn't speak up, this hospital would have been already closed," she said.

The Board of Supervisors takes up the revised agreement next week.

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