CPMC on verge of closing deal for $1.9B hospital

After nearly seven years of wrangling between San Francisco and the California Pacific Medical Center, a basic agreement for a massive new hospital in The City appears to be only weeks away.

CPMC spokesman Kevin McCormack said he expects a deal to be reached in the next two weeks — and at least by the end of the year — for the remaining “tiny details” to be settled on a $1.9 billion, 555-bed facility on Cathedral Hill. The hospital plan itself would have to go through The City’s Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors.

McCormack, who declined to reveal more details, said he is cautiously hopeful, mentioning a news story from 2004 that said CPMC “hopes to break ground” on the hospital by 2006.

“But we’re optimistic,” McCormack said. “We’re closer than we’ve ever been.”

Christine Falvey, a spokeswoman for Mayor Ed Lee, echoed the sentiment.

“There is good progress being made and it’s going in a positive direction,” Falvey said.

At issue is a community benefits agreement that would have the nonprofit hospital network paying into funds for transit and affordable housing to offset the impact of the new building. Also at stake is the future of the Mission district’s St. Luke’s Hospital, an aging facility serving poorer patients that is slated to be rebuilt and therefore faces a reduction in beds and services.

Last summer, Lee floated a community benefits deal that would have CPMC pay a one-time $108 million fee, plus $34 million per year indefinitely toward charity care and other services. Hospital officials called the deal “fiscally infeasible.”

CPMC made a counter-offer in which the hospital would pay $1.1 billion over 10 years, including construction of new health clinics in the Mission and Tenderloin neighborhoods. Supervisor David Campos, whose district includes St. Luke’s, decried that plan as disingenuous because CPMC was essentially offering the same amount it already contributes in community benefits.

On Monday, Campos said he was unaware of the details of the latest negotiations, but any deal would need to maintain an acceptable level of services and beds at St. Luke’s in order to find favor with a majority of supervisors.

On Tuesday, Supervisor Eric Mar requested that the Board of Supervisors hold a Dec. 13 hearing on the status of negotiations between the mayor and CPMC.

dschreiber@sfexaminer.com

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