|California Pacific Medical Center Hospital Projects Clear First Planning Hurdle|
|Tuesday, May 1, 2012|
By Paul Burton, Contributing Writer and Photographer
California Pacific Medical Center’s plan to expand its hospitals won approval from the SF Planning Commission April 5. CPMC and Mayor Ed Lee announced a development agreement in March to allow CPMC to build two new hospitals in the city – an 80-bed facility to replace the existing 200-plus-bed St. Luke’s Hospital and a 555-bed hospital on Cathedral Hill. Lee spoke at a rally in front of City Hall before the April 5 meeting. Over 200 building trades union members attended the rally to call for approval of the projects that would create 1,500 new construction jobs and guarantee $1.1 billion in community benefits.
“We trust in the City and CPMC to come to a final agreement that will allow this project to go forward and to provide work to our members and seismically sound hospital facilities to San Franciscans,” said Michael Theriault, Secretary-Treasurer San Francisco Building & Construction Trades Council. Mayor Lee called the development agreement with CPMC “an unprecedented investment in the future of our City that will build two new seismically safe hospitals, create jobs for our City’s unemployed residents, and improve community benefits for our neighborhoods. This new agreement will move San Francisco’s healthcare system into the 21st century and have lasting impacts on the health of generations of San Franciscans.”
The agreement requires CPMC to provide $63 million for affordable housing, to replace displaced units, fund new affordable rental units and help moderate income CPMC employees purchase a home in San Francisco. CPMC will also contribute $20 million for Muni facilities and service, and $13 million for pedestrian safety and streetscape improvements.
Critics of the deal have said that CPMC, which is operated by the Sutter Health chain, hasn’t done enough to provide charity care and serve vulnerable populations. The development agreement addresses some of those concerns through a requirement that CPMC increase access to healthcare for low-income and underserved San Franciscans, including hospital care for 10,000 additional Medi-Cal beneficiaries (about one-third of the City’s new Medi-Cal beneficiaries that are expected under federal healthcare reform). CPMC will also contribute $20 million to a new Community Care Innovation Fund to support and improve the services of community clinics and other social service organizations. The deal also requires CPMC to begin rebuilding its St. Luke’s campus in the Mission District before building the new facility on Cathedral Hill. CPMC must also guarantee the City that the cost of building the hospitals must not be passed on to the City’s employee health care system at any higher than the medical rate of inflation.Plans for the Cathedral Hill site have been in the works since 2007. CPMC, like all California hospitals, must meet new stringent seismic requirements by retrofitting or rebuilding its hospitals.
The development agreement also includes a workforce plan with local hiring goals. It calls for entry-level internships and jobs in construction administration as well as hiring local construction workers and union apprentices. CPMC will provide funding for Community Based Organizations to do outreach to bring San Francisco residents into the City Build program and union apprenticeship programs. CPMC would hire at least 30 percent of all construction workers, and at least 200 permanent hires through the City’s workforce system.
Unions represented at the rally calling for the CPMC rebuild included Sheet Metal Workers Local 104, Ironworkers Local 377, Carpenters Local 22, Laborers Local 261, Heat and Frost Insulators Local 16, Sprinklerfitters Local 483, Plumbers Local 38, Operating Engineers Local 3, Electrical Workers Local 6 and United Health Care Workers (SEIU-UHW). SEIU-UHW Field Representative Gustavo Corral said rebuilding the hospitals would be good for the health care workers his union represents and would provide many new jobs at the hospitals. SEIU-UHW represents about 500 workers at CPMC hospitals.
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