As tense negotiations with The City delay approval of a planned $2.5 billion hospital complex, California Pacific Medical Center officials announced Monday that they dismissed 120 consultants on a project once expected to break ground in October.
Spokesman Sam Singer said hospital officials let go of 120 architects, engineers and planners until there is more certainty about the project’s future. Singer said the consultants were costing $3 million a month. Consultants working on planning issues will remain on the payroll.
The layoffs are the latest obstacle to CPMC’s proposed rebuild of St. Luke’s Hospital and construction of a new 555-bed hospital on Cathedral Hill. Like many other hospitals, the chain is attempting to comply with a statewide mandate to become seismically safe by 2015.
An agreement to bring in a mediator to resolve outstanding issues between CPMC and The City has caused the development to stall. Last week, the Board of Supervisors once again postponed a vote regarding the project’s environmental impact report — this time until Nov. 20, after the Nov. 6 supervisorial elections. No mediator has yet been selected.
Board concerns include a possible rise in health care costs as well as the hospital company’s commitment to charitable giving, affordable housing and traffic mitigation.
But the biggest stated concern is the future of St. Luke’s. The original deal between CPMC and The City included an escape clause allowing the company to close St. Luke’s based on weak financial performance by the parent company. Then financial information leaked to the board before its initial vote suggested that CPMC could close St. Luke’s in 2020, just five years into a 20-year development deal. City officials are asking for increased assurances that St. Luke’s will remain open for at least 20 years.
“The Mayor’s Office is continuing to work with CPMC and will be in contact this week, as every week,” said mayoral spokeswoman Christine Falvey.