health-care.jpgSan Francisco city and California Pacific Medical Center officials today announced a new agreement to build two hospitals in the city.

The plan, introduced at the city’s Board of Supervisors meeting this afternoon, calls for a new 120-bed hospital at CPMC’s existing St. Luke’s campus in the Mission District and a new hospital with up to 304 beds on Cathedral Hill.

A previous development agreement reached between city and hospital officials last year called for a smaller-scale hospital at St. Luke’s and a larger one at the Cathedral Hill site at Van Ness Avenue and Geary Boulevard, but was shelved by supervisors unhappy with the deal.

Board president David Chiu and Supervisors Mark Farrell and David Campos joined Mayor Ed Lee at the St. Luke’s campus today to announce the new agreement, which Farrell said “incorporates the needs and concerns of our neighborhoods.”

Residents near the proposed Cathedral Hill site had complained about the prospect of increased traffic congestion from a hospital being built at the intersection of two of the city’s main thoroughfares, he said.

Campos, whose district includes St. Luke’s, said that hospital is “very personal to me” because he had received care there when he was uninsured as a young adult.
He said the new agreement “ensures the long-term viability of St.
One of the aspects of the previous proposed deal that supervisors criticized was an escape clause that could have allowed CPMC to close St. Luke’s if its operating margin stayed negative for two consecutive years.

Chiu, who said today that he “was not hugely optimistic we were going to get here,” lauded the new agreement for ensuring increased contributions by CPMC to the city for charity care and a commitment to hiring at least 30 percent city residents for construction jobs on the new facilities.

Lee said the supervisors’ work made for a better agreement than the one he had initially agreed to last year.

“This project would not have gotten done without their direct involvement,” he said. “This is another great brick in the whole health care system that we have to have.”

Among other aspects of the new deal are a commitment by CPMC to contribute $14 million to build transit facilities near the Cathedral Hill campus and a new $9 million “Healthcare Innovation Fund” to increase the capacity of local community-based clinics and health care providers.

CPMC chief executive officer Dr. Warren Browner said negotiations were challenging between the two sides but ultimately proved fruitful.

“There were many times when it looked like we were pushing an incredibly heavy rock up an even steeper hill and would never get to the summit,” Browner said. “But we’re here, we’re delighted to be here.”

He said he hopes construction will begin at the sites by the end of the year.

The board is expected to vote at its meeting next week on a resolution endorsing the term sheet for the revised development agreement.

Dan McMenamin, Bay City News

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