Your July 10 cover story ("California hospitals on shaky ground," p. 26) on the challenges faced by California hospitals in meeting new seismic standards missed one crucial factor. Many hospitals, unable to fund new replacement facilities, must deal with retrofitting their current buildings. The disruption of patient care and the associated lost revenue will greatly add to the cost of these projects, in some cases potentially exceeding the actual construction costs.
In a recent study completed for one Southern California hospital, the operational costs tied to the disruption of services added $12.8 million to a $16.3 million project. If this is any indication, the statewide impact may exceed $40 billion rather than the estimated $24 billion.
Clearly an informed decision will be crucial for the survival of many California hospitals.
J. Kenneth Upchurch
Facility planning services
Centre for Health Care Planning