| St. Luke’s: Public Discusses CPMC’s Plan
By Jonathan Farrell Mar 20, 2009
The second floor cafeteria at St. Luke’s Hospital was filled to overflowing. On March 4 California Pacific Medical Center invited the public to attend the first in a series of discussion workshops to help CPMC officials and planners establish the future construction of a rebuilt St. Luke’s.
San Jose Ave. resident Upadhya Seenu discusses the CPM's
plan with Kamala Mostert and Kevin Lipsky.
Photo by Jonathan Farrell
Back in January Geoffrey Nelson, Director of Enterprise Development for CPMC faced a standing room only crowed of Mission District residents and community organizers. He presented details of the proposed plan for St. Luke’s within the context of a Master Plan before a community forum. Those in attendance expressed critical concerns and found the proposed plans for St. Luke’s lacking and shortsighted of the needs of the neighborhood.
This March 4 workshop was organized to address the community’s concerns about CPMC plans and encouraged the public to make comment and provide input. After a meal was served, attendees were asked to form round table discussion groups of 12 or more.
Nelson and Dr. Steve Lockhart, MD, Ph.D. who serves as Medical Director of Surgical Services at St Luke’s welcomed the crowd of 140 people that attended that Wednesday.
Lockhart was among several CPMC doctors, nurses and administrators who presided over the workshop. They listened attentively to each group and answered questions.
“We will be rebuilding a replacement hospital,” said Lockhart in his opening address. “But we will remain open during construction,” he said.
Both Lockhart and Nelson and others representing CPMC mentioned that the plans proposed are not complete and that this opportunity to hear from the community is vital to any plans for the hospital which has been serving the needs of Mission and surrounding areas for over 130 years.
Originally founded by the Episcopalian archdiocese of San Francisco to serve the needy, St. Luke’s was a privately managed hospital. But as health care costs increased dramatically over the past 20 years, the Episcopalian archdiocese struggled to meet the financial demands. The archdiocese relinquished control of St. Luke’s to larger hospital administrative organizations like Sutter Health and then CPMC.
Initially, CPMC wanted to shut down St. Luke’s as they have been eager to develop a Master Plan for an interconnected state-of-the-art medical service facility combining all of its medical campuses into a major service provider for the entire city.
"CPMC has been developing a Master Plan for the past nine years since 2000,” explained Nelson as he talked to the Mission Dispatch. “I joined the team in 2005. Initially, a replacement hospital at St. Luke's was not part of the Master Plan,” said Nelson.
“While it had been a Sutter Health affiliate since 2001,” he explained, “St. Luke’s did not formally merge with CPMC until January 2007,” said Nelson.
Yet, when CPMC announced that they were going to close the hospital community groups protested making an appeal to City officials to help save St. Luke’s. Spearheaded by Supervisor Michela Alioto-Pier with the support of SF Board of Supervisors, a Blue Ribbon Panel was formed to assist CPMC in finding a solution to keeping St. Luke’s.
As a result of the efforts of the Blue Ribbon Panel, a replacement hospital at St. Luke's has become part of the Master Plan for CPMC.
“Now we are planning to make St. Luke's a more viable and dynamic facility that can reach to out to outlying areas of the city and beyond, such as Bernal Heights, the Excelsior and even south to Daly City,” said Nelson.
Each discussion group at each of the 12 tables had a copy of the proposed plan sketches to review. They were also given a set of three questions. The questions asked, “What about the St. Luke’s physical campus is currently not working, (such as noise, glare, crime & traffic)?” “How would you like St. Luke’s to look and feel in five years with a replacement hospital?” And, “What are your specific concerns of campus redevelopment during reconstruction and after (leaving open comments about construction in the current location versus a proposed location)?”
“The hard edge of hospital should face the street and the softer side of the hospital should face the residential areas,” said Kamala Mostert. She was pleased to able to participate in the group discussion because Mostert has an architect background. Mostert and neighbor Kevin Lipski live on Guererro Street. They along with Seenu Upadhya who lives on San Jose Avenue formed discussion group #2. Together they looked over the grid map and outline plans as they each made their comments.
Upadhya and Lipski agreed with Mostert that residential areas need to be maintained, placing more critical hospital traffic (like the ER) toward Cesar Chavez Street or Valencia Street and not along residential streets like Tiffany and Duncan.
They saw a need for the hospital to coincide with the neighborhood, not work against it. “I think the hospital should remain where it is,” said Mostert. Lipski agreed as he said, ”Only make it better.” Lipski, Mostert and Upadhya were part of the majority of the attendees made up of residents and homeowners in the Mission District.
Kat Shedricks and her husband Jon are expecting their first child. “We can see St. Luke’s from our back door on 26th Street,” said Kat. They hope to have St. Luke’s as a hospital they can go to in the future, since it is so close by.
“The building should not be just a wall of concrete,” said Upadhya. “It needs to welcome the community and be less of a forbidding monolith,” he added. Accessibility is one thing that seemed to appeal to the people gathered.
Pediatrician Dr. Michael Treece, MD and RN Jonica Brooks were also part of group #2. In discussion they thought that services such as pharmacy, outpatient services, etc., should be at ground level at the front of the hospital. With the number of outpatients averaging at 175 daily “more pedestrian access that allows more foot traffic of people to the hospital is needed,” said Treece.
Providing some statistical data, at St. Luke’s, “the average number of patients for inpatient care is about 55,” said Judy Li “There are on average about 90 patients for post-acute services (as well as sub-acute unit and skilled nursing),” she said.
Serving as vice president of Health Systems Innovations at CPMC, Li noted, “there are about 28,000 emergency visits annually.”
Treece like other doctors within the CPMC system feel that St. Luke’s must remain and stay in operation during construction. Because, “SF General cannot take on all the health care needs of this area.” San Francisco General Hospital which also serves the Mission District also takes in most if not all the city’s population that is uninsured. As a result SF General is stretched beyond its maximum capacity.
It is estimated that construction and or perhaps to say reconstruction of St. Luke’s would take about four years. Some officials mentioned that it would be most cost effective for the hospital to be closed during construction. Yet doctors like Treece note that, budgets aside “not having day to day care available to the people would be disastrous.” Brooks agreed as she mentioned to the group that the availability of hospital beds must remain a priority.
More workshops will be scheduled in the coming months as CMPC officials want to gather as much input from the public as possible.
For more information about the plans for St. Luke’s visit: www.cpmc.org/plans. Or, contact Paula Lykins, Manager of Community Relations at CPMC at (415) 600-7482.
Got News or Comments? Contact Jonathan Farrell at firstname.lastname@example.org.
1 of 1
This article has been placed in the category(s) below:
this article to a friend