State Earthquake Safety Law Prompts Change
To meet earthquake safety standards set by the State of California, the Standby Emergency Department (ER) at Mills Health Center in San Mateo must close on Dec. 1, 2012. The Standby ER will be replaced with an Urgent Care Center in the same space, scheduled to open in fall 2013.
California Senate Bill 1953 requires that as of Jan. 1, 2013, all California acute care facilities either retrofit their buildings to meet stricter standards or discontinue acute care. The law is intended to protect the most acutely ill patients who are confined to bed and couldn’t be easily evacuated in the event of an earthquake.
At Mills-Peninsula, critical emergency care has been provided exclusively at Mills-Peninsula Medical Center in Burlingame since 1997, when all acute inpatient care was consolidated at that location. Emergency surgery and other care services required for treating critical emergencies have not been provided at Mills since the 1997 consolidation.
“We examined the use of the Mills Center Standby ER in recent years and found there is a greater need for urgent care in the area,” Bob Merwin, CEO, said. “Ambulances have bypassed Mills Health Center to take critically ill or injured patients to Mills-Peninsula Medical Center in Burlingame since the Mills ER was downgraded to standby status.”
In 2011, the Mills Standby Emergency Department served about 34 patients a day, compared to about 100 at Mills-Peninsula Medical Center and up to 145 a day at San Mateo County Medical Center. Between midnight and 7 a.m., on a daily average, three to four people come to the Mills Standby ER for care.
“Steep construction costs combined with the proximity of the new hospital and emergency services in Burlingame made the retrofit of the Mills Center economically unfeasible,” Merwin said. Estimated retrofit costs for the Mills Center were as high as $80 million.
The building that houses the Standby Emergency Department is the only building at Mills affected by the law. All the other programs and services provided at Mills meet applicable earthquake safety standards and will continue operations.
“The new medical center that opened in Burlingame last year has a full service emergency department that was designed to serve twice as many people. We are consolidating our emergency services and are ready to care for all of the patients who traditionally have used the standby emergency department,” Emergency Services Medical Director Allan Brody, M.D., said.
Mills-Peninsula Medical Center is only four miles away and easily accessible from California Drive, El Camino Real or Highway 101.
Mills-Peninsula is working closely with state regulatory agencies and local government to ensure the public is well informed about the changes.
The San Mateo Emergency Services Department is holding a public hearing on the closure on Sept. 27, 5-6:30 p.m., in Room 100 of the San Mateo County Health System at 225 37th Ave. in San Mateo.
Mills-Peninsula also is implementing extensive community outreach including personal letters to patients, advertisements and presentations to senior residences and community groups. A detailed “Question & Answer” sheet is being provided in the Standby Emergency Department at Mills.
The Difference between Emergency and Urgent Care
Generally, an emergency is a condition that may threaten a person’s life or cause impairment if treatment is delayed. Urgent care treats medical problems that, while not emergencies, do require prompt care within 24 hours. According to Brian Roach, M.D., president of the Mills-Peninsula Division of the Palo Alto Medical Foundation, who is developing Center, it will offer:
- Diagnostic services including laboratory and radiology
- Treatments such as IV fluids and medications, splinting and casting, wound suturing, urgent minor surgical procedures
- Respiratory therapy treatments
- Extended hours, 365 days a year
- Urgent care for all patients, regardless of insurance type
One of Seven Sutter Health Affiliate Hospitals Honored for
Quality Performance in 2011
Sutter Maternity & Surgery Center, part of the Sutter Health network, today was named one of the nation’s Top Performers on Key Quality Measures by The Joint Commission, the leading accreditor of health care organizations in America. Sutter Maternity and Surgery Center was recognized by The Joint Commission for exemplary performance in using evidence-based clinical processes that are shown to improve care for certain conditions, including surgical care.
Sutter Maternity & Surgery Center is one of 620 hospitals in the U.S. earning the distinction of Top Performer on Key Quality Measures for attaining and sustaining excellence in accountability measure performance. Sutter Maternity & Surgery Center was recognized for its achievement in surgical care. The ratings are based on an aggregation of accountability measure data reported to The Joint Commission during the 2011 calendar year. The list of Top Performers increased by 50 percent from its debut last year and represents 18 percent of accredited hospitals reporting data.
This is the second consecutive year that Sutter Maternity & Surgery Center is being recognized as a Top Performer. Sutter Maternity & Surgery Center is one of only 244 hospitals that achieved the distinction two years in a row.
Sutter Maternity & Surgery Center and Mills-Peninsula Health Services comprise the hospital division of Sutter Health’s Peninsula Coastal Region. Read More about Sutter Maternity & Surgery Center Earns ‘Top Performer’ Recognition from The Joint Commission