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By Shawn Raymundo
The public will have a couple of opportunities this month to hear what regional health care experts, first responders and elected officials have to say about San Clemente’s history when it comes to health care, as well as possible options to improve local services.
“The City of San Clemente has spent the last several years consulting with experts and doing extensive research to examine the possibility of operating a hospital in our City,” Mayor Gene James said in the April 4 announcement. “We believe that our community will benefit from understanding the City’s past efforts as we launch a new discussion of local health care options.”
This Saturday, April 9, at 10 a.m., the city will hold a “Meet the Experts” panel over Zoom. The health care experts and representatives from the Orange County Fire Authority, County EMS, University of California, Irvine Health and Hospital Association of Southern California will join James and Mayor Pro Tem Chris Duncan for a discussion, as well as answer questions.
The link for the Zoom panel can be found here. The passcode to enter the Zoom is 040619. The phone number to join is +1 720 707 2699 or +1 253 215 8782. The Webinar ID is 896 2484 4667.
And on April 23, at 10 a.m., the city has scheduled a Community Roundtable at the San Clemente Community Center, where community representatives will be on hand to interact with residents who would like to share their thoughts on types of health care services their household needs.
“At this listening session, city staff will facilitate a discussion between community leaders and the public on what steps can be taken to improve health care options, including the possibility of new health care facilities,” the city said in its announcement on Monday.
The planned roundtables come months after the city completed a resident survey to gauge the public’s attitude on local health care services and their interest in bringing back a hospital with emergency services to San Clemente.
The survey had found, among other things, that while 83% of respondents favored creating a new hospital, only 57% favored the city using public funds to pay for its construction. In one sample group, 65% favored building a new hospital at the site of the shuttered San Clemente hospital on Camino de los Mares.
The possibility of utilizing the former hospital site, however, could be a moot point, because MemorialCare—the property owner and former hospital operator—recently proposed demolishing the abandoned building to develop a 6.3-acre residential community for senior citizens that will include an adjacent health center. MemorialCare submitted an application to the city for its proposal.
In the city’s announcement on Monday, City Manager Erik Sund said that “the City is excited about facilitating a new conversation with the community to identify and find solutions to local health care gaps in service.”
“I encourage all community members to participate in these community roundtables to stay informed on this matter and share feedback on what would be best for our community moving forward,” Sund added.
Shawn Raymundo is the managing editor for Picket Fence Media. He graduated from Arizona State University with a bachelor’s degree in Global Studies. Before joining Picket Fence Media, he worked as the government accountability reporter for the Pacific Daily News in the U.S. territory of Guam. Follow him on Twitter @ShawnzyTsunami and follow San Clemente Times @SCTimesNews.