Mayor Newsom Announces Committee to Recommend Future Site of SFGH

Mayor Gavin Newsom announced on Friday the formation of a committee to recommend where to rebuild San Francisco General Hospital to meet state seismic safety laws. At a press conference at City Hall on May 13, Newsom said the committee is charged with making recommendations on where San Francisco should consider rebuilding the aging public hospital. San Francisco General Hospital (SFGH), like UCSF Medical Center's hospitals and others across the state, must meet state earthquake safety standards designed to protect patients and personnel. "The rebuild of San Francisco General Hospital is an issue that affects all San Franciscans," the Mayor said. "I am confident that the caliber and reach of our blue ribbon committee will bring the most important considerations to the table. I look forward to receiving the committee's thoughtful recommendations." The Mayor asked that the recommendations be presented to him by summer's end. David Kessler, dean of the UCSF School of Medicine and vice chancellor for medical affairs, spoke at the press conference on the important and historic relationship between the University and SFGH. "SFGH is one of the flagship medical institutions in our city," he said. "It represents what is best in medicine - access to top level medicine for all patients, regardless of ability to pay." "UCSF is honored to be part of this tradition," Kessler continued. "UCSF faculty make up the medical staff at SFGH. UCSF personnel make up much of the non-physician staff as well. It is a relationship built on clinical and service excellence. UCSF is committed to maintaining this relationship, regardless of where the inpatient, acute hospital is rebuilt." SFGH is also an integral part of UCSF's academic teaching mission. Today, 875 UCSF physicians rotate through SFGH as interns, residents and fellows as part of their medical education, providing an opportunity to learn in one of the most diverse settings in the city. Mayor Newsom appointed Sandra Hernandez, MD, chief executive officer of the San Francisco Foundation and former director of San Francisco's Department of Public Health, to lead the newly formed committee. Mitch Katz, current director of the Department of Public Health, will serve as co-chair. The 26-member committee - with members yet to be confirmed -- will reflect the broad base of representatives from health care, including UCSF, education, advocacy and community, business, labor, government and philanthropy. "I look forward to a challenging and stimulating collaboration of diverse, broad, community-minded perspectives, as we explore the best possible solutions to the SFGH rebuild," said Hernandez. "The patients' quality of care, continuity of care and access to care will be the most important factors in this complex issue." The committee also will review and weigh a number of feasibility studies and analyses that have already been commissioned and completed on the project in the past three years. All hospitals in California are subject to the Alfred E. Alquist Hospital Facilities Seismic Safety Act (Senate Bill 1953), which imposes deadlines to implement state-mandated seismic safety and life-safety standards for inpatient facilities by 2008 and 2030. A five-year extension to the 2008 deadline, to 2013, is available if a hospital elects to replace, rather than retrofit, a facility. For its part, UCSF will build integrated specialty hospitals and an ambulatory care/translational research facility at Mission Bay. The UC Board of Regents in March gave the green light for UCSF to expand upon its already remarkable presence at the booming 43-acre biosciences campus, where faculty, staff and students are working in three research buildings surrounded by a campus green. More buildings, including a campus community center, housing and retail complex and parking garages, are expected to open this fall. The Regents in March also amended UCSF's Long Range Development Plan to acknowledge the University's ongoing discussions with the San Francisco Department of Public Health regarding the potential to co-locate hospitals at Mission Bay. Currently located on Potrero Avenue, SFGH is a licensed general acute care hospital within the Community Health Network, which is owned and operated by the City and County of San Francisco, Department of Public Health. SFGH provides a full complement of inpatient, outpatient, emergency, skilled nursing, diagnostic, mental health, and rehabilitation services for adults and children. It is the largest acute inpatient and rehabilitation hospital for psychiatric patients in the City. It is the only acute hospital in San Francisco that provides 24-hour psychiatric emergency services and operates the only Level I Trauma Center for 1.5 million residents of San Francisco and northern San Mateo County. Source: Office of the Mayor and Lisa Cisneros

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