California city balks at plan to close local hospital, rebuild in another city

City officials in Apple Valley, Calif., are questioning the planned closure of a local medical center which is being replaced by a $750 million hospital backed by Kaiser Permanente and Providence Southern California, according to the Daily Press

Oakland, Calif.-based Kaiser Permanente and Renton, Wash.-based Providence said June 3 they would close the 65-year-old Providence St. Mary hospital and replace it with a 260-bed hospital in Victorville, Calif. Providence, with input from Kaiser, would operate the hospital. 

Under the plan, Providence St. Mary is set to close in 2026 because it doesn't meet California's new earthquake-resistant requirements taking effect in 2030. It would cost about the same to renovate Providence St. Mary as it would to build a new medical center.

The plan drew criticism from leaders in Apple Valley. Scott Nassif, a member of the St. Mary Medical Foundation board of directors, initially questioned what economic effects the proposed closure could have in Apple Valley and whether the absence of a hospital in the city could affect care access for residents. 

Providence and Apple Valley leaders have created an ad hoc committee to discuss the future of Providence St. Mary hospital. The committee includes hospital and community leaders. After meeting with the committee, Mr. Nassif told the Daily Press, "We truly appreciate St. Mary's willingness to collaborate with community stakeholders and find the best possible solutions to concerns among our residents. We have an opportunity to consider the needs in Apple Valley and look for creative solutions."

The new $750 million replacement hospital still requires regulatory approval, according to the Daily Press

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