HCA, Nashville, said it will close 175-bed San Jose (Calif.) Medical Center and consolidate its services at another HCA hospital, 192-bed Regional Medical Center of San Jose.
San Jose Medical Center is in need of a major upgrade to meet California's seismic safety standards for hospitals, HCA said. As early as 1998, company officials said the cost of the upgrades could force the closure of the hospital.
Rather than spend money on a landlocked hospital in downtown San Jose, HCA decided it would put $100 million into expanding Regional Medical Center, which is two and a half miles away and has land for expansion, the company said. The earliest San Jose Medical Center could close is 2006, HCA spokesman Ed Fishbough said. It will remain open until the work is completed at Regional Medical Center, he said.
The state's Seismic Safety Act, signed into law shortly after a major earthquake north of Los Angeles in 1994, requires hospitals to meet standards set by the Federal Emergency Management Agency by 2008. The Rand Corp., in an April 2002 study for the California HealthCare Foundation, estimated that the statewide cost of retrofitting or rebuilding hospitals could be as high as $41.1 billion to comply with the 2008 standard and the stricter 2030 standard. About "50% of California's hospital buildings will need to be retrofitted, reconstructed or closed over the next 28 years" to meet the requirements of the act, Rand said.
Columbia/HCA Healthcare Corp., one of HCA's predecessor companies, acquired San Jose Medical Center in 1996 as part of its $165 million purchase of four-hospital Good Samaritan Health System, San Jose. One of the Good Samaritan hospitals, 93-bed South Valley Hospital, Gilroy, was sold in 1999 to Catholic Healthcare West, San Francisco, and renamed St. Louise Regional Hospital. Another hospital in the deal, 63-bed Mission Oaks Hospital, Los Gatos, Calif., was converted from acute care to skilled nursing, outpatient rehabilitation and medical oncology services, Fishbough said.
In 1999 Columbia/HCA received Regional Medical Center of San Jose and $281 million in cash as part of its sale of two facilities in Hoffman Estates, Ill., to Alexian Brothers Health System, Elk Grove Village, Ill. Those hospitals were known as 195-bed Hoffman Estates Medical Center and Woodland Hospital, a 94-bed psychiatric hospital.