California hospital closes after attempt to alter facility fails

Saddleback Memorial – San Clemente (Calif.) hospital closed Monday at 11:59 p.m.

The primary reason for the closure was dwindling patient volumes. On many days, there were less than 10 inpatients at the 73-bed hospital.

Fountain Valley, Calif.-based MemorialCare Health System, the hospital's parent system, explored other options before deciding to shut down the facility. In August 2014, MemorialCare announced plans to convert the hospital into an outpatient medical campus. The system worked with state lawmakers on legislation that would have allowed a satellite emergency department at the outpatient campus in San Clemente. However, the legislation failed in January. The following week, the San Clemente City Council voted to rezone the San Clemente campus property to require hospital services.

In March, Saddleback Memorial – San Clemente announced it would close at the end of May. San Clemente Mayor Bob Baker and City Manager James Makshanoff asked the California Department of Public Health to force MemorialCare to keep emergency services at the hospital, but the department of health said it does not have the authority to do so.

With the hospital closed, MemorialCare's health centers in San Clemente have extended hours. Saddleback Memorial – Laguna Hills (Calif.), about 15 miles from the San Clemente campus, will remain open.

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