Taxpayers dodge bill on hospital fix

Not a dime of taxpayer money will be used to fund the $240 million state-mandated retrofitting of Sequoia Hospital, officials from the hospital said Thursday.

Three days after the hospital’s seismic upgrade was unanimously approved by the Redwood City Council, Sequoia representatives said the retrofit will be funded by $75 million in contributions from the hospital, Sequoia Healthcare District and Catholic Healthcare West.

The hospital’s portion of the funds will be drawn from money that has been set aside over the past decade for large-scale projects. Hospital President Glenna Vaskelis said the account contains approximately $90 million.

District Board President Katie Kane said the remaining $15 million will be covered through donations collected by the Sequoia Hospital Foundation. Any further costs will be covered by CHW.

Under a new management plan for the district, CHW will also take over all responsibility for the hospital, but day-to-day operations are not expected to change.

Governance of the hospital — currently a board of 10 members, five members each appointed by the health care district and CHW — will be handled by a 10- to 15-member board appointed by CHW and made up of community members.

“We’re going to look for leaders, some with knowledge of health care, some with very little knowledge of health care, reflective of the diversity of our area,” said Vaskelis.

The new management plan may prove lucrative for the Sequoia Healthcare District. If financial “benchmarks” — to be announced at a Sept. 4 public board meeting — are met, revenue-sharing would bring some of the hospital’s profit to the district.

The project must be completed by 2013, the deadline set by the state for a complete seismic retrofitting.

The first step of the project is a four-story parking garage to be built along Alameda de las Pulgas. One of the final steps will provide a new medical office building for physicians.

Pending approval of the plan, Vaskelis said she hopes to be breaking ground in November. The project should be completed by 2011, she said.

The funding plan will be discussed in at least fourpublic meetings around the Peninsula, culminating in a possible vote at the Sept. 25 Sequoia Healthcare District Special Board meeting in the hospital at 4:30 p.m.

jgoldman@examiner.com

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