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SF Planning Commission Meeting on St. Luke’s Future

October 14, 2009

The San Jose Guerrero Coalition alerts us to an important SF Planning Commission meeting tomorrow, Thursday, October 15th. The Commission will take public comment on CPMC’s Institutional Master Plan in City Hall room 400 at 4PM. This includes the plans for the St. Luke’s campus.

CPMC’s plan for St. Luke’s is not ideal.  SJG’s summary:

This is the opportunity to tell the Planning Commission, before it meets to vote on CPMC’s plan, that the services proposed by CPMC at St. Luke’s do not meet the City’s needs. The Planning Commission will be listening on the 15th for whether we think CPMC is proposing the right services in the right neighborhoods at the right time, and not yet concerned about the size, height or urban form of the buildings those services are in.

We hope you will attend to tell the Planning Commission that the rebuilt hospital (that is, “inpatient care”) proposed for St. Luke’s has no future unless CPMC also builds the outpatient facilities that most people actually use most of the time. (“Outpatient and Urgent care” take place outside a hospital—primarily in doctor’s offices equipped with state-of-the-art medical equipment.)

The future of medicine is outpatient care, not in hospital beds:

Ten years ago, 90% of all cancer treatments were performed in hospitals, and 10% were performed in state-of-the-art medical offices on an outpatient basis. Today, the ratio is reversed. Increasingly, healthcare is about preventing disease and keeping us well and out of hospital beds in the first place.

St. Luke’s is doomed without modern outpatient care:

Currently, St. Luke’s has an average daily census of about 50 patients in its 229 licensed beds, and only about 7% of its patients have health insurance. The 11-storey hospital tower has heat but no air conditioning, and the average wait time for one of the 2 elevators is several minutes. The small existing medical offices are outmoded and full, and new doctors do not come to St. Luke’s.

CPMC is proposing state-of-the-art outpatient facilities for all CPMC campuses except St. Luke’s:

Just like every other neighborhood CPMC serves in San Francisco, we and our families need outpatient services in a modern health care facility in our neighborhood – at St. Luke’s – just like neighborhoods with higher per capita income. This will be especially true as San Francisco densifies in the neighborhoods South of Market Street. CPMC shows pretty pictures of a “future” outpatient building, but they make no assurance this will be built — and it therefore probably won’t. CPMC must be held to its promises.

We are designing for the next fifty years – let’s get it right:

With a lifetime of 50+ years, the facilities built at St. Luke’s will determine how both the medical facility and our neighborhoods function (or don’t) for generations. Let’s not merely rebuild what isn’t working now.

St. Luke’s is where the regional transportation is:

4 blocks from BART, St. Luke’s is the San Francisco hospital closest to regional transportation, particularly once San Francisco builds the Transbay Transit Center linking BART with Caltrain. Patients, Doctors, Nurses and students can readily access St. Luke’s from anywhere in the Bay Area – permitting a regional center of excellence.

If you live nearby but can’t attend, SJG suggests (and Burrito Justice agrees) that you should “email linda.avery@sfgov.org by Thursday morning, saying that rebuilding St. Luke’s doesn’t make any sense unless they also build outpatient and urgent care services – which the neighborhoods would actually use.”

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