California system relocating elective surgeries

As of July 1, Alameda (Calif.) Hospital is ending elective surgeries and relocating them to the Wilma Chan Highland Hospital Campus in Oakland, Calif., and San Leandro (Calif.) Hospital.

All of the facilities are part of Alameda Health System, the county's public hospital system, which confirmed the move to Becker's on June 14. 

A statement from the health system said the organization is relocating the elective surgeries, including procedures for ophthalmology, gynecology and urology, "because a cross-functional work group that included physician and nursing leaders, post-acute staff and operational staff determined it is in the best interest of our patients — and to offset the costs associated with the seismic upgrade required to keep Alameda Hospital operational."

California law requires general acute-care hospitals to meet seismic strengthening requirements by 2030.

To support the City of Alameda Health Care District in meeting these requirements while ensuring continued access to critical healthcare services at Alameda Hospital, AHS and the district entered into an agreement in May that commits both parties to secure approximately $55 million in funding to upgrade the facilities and meet the seismic mandate, the health system statement said. Additionally, AHS pointed to the $42 million it has and is investing in infrastructure projects that support hospital operations.

Other opportunities AHS leaders and physicians have identified to offset the cost of the seismic upgrade, outside of relocating elective surgeries, include improving efficiencies and expanding post-acute services and access for Medicare recipients.

Physicians and nurses have expressed concerns that relocating elective surgeries from the hospital will lead to reductions in surgical staff and could mean some patients waiting hours to be transferred to another location, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

A spokesperson for AHS told the publication there are no existing plans to relocate urgent or emergent surgeries from Alameda Hospital. AHS also said they see relocating elective surgeries as what's best because 5% of surgery patients live in the city of Alameda. 

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