By Shawn Raymundo
A draft of the city’s documents seeking interest from hospital operators wanting to reopen the site of the former MemorialCare facility in San Clemente is expected to be presented to the public and city council within the next couple of weeks.
At the council’s meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 19, Assistant City Manager Erik Sund gave a brief overview of what the draft of the request for proposals (RFP) will entail, as well as a timeline of potential actions the city is hoping to make within the coming months.
“These are a little bit of aggressive timetables, but we know there’s a need that’s very clear of the council bringing back a hospital,” Sund told the council, adding: “We want to be expeditious in our approach.”
According to the city, the RFP is planned to be released for the public input and council’s review as early as the next city council meeting on Dec. 3. Currently, Sund said, the city only has a skeleton of the RFP, but if staff are able to get the draft posted for the public to view ahead of the meeting, they will.
After the RFP is released, allowing hospital providers to submit proposals for the site, the city will allow due diligence visits, as well a Q&A period. The city is looking to review the bids as early as February of next year and present a recommendation to the council by March.
In their Oct. 1 meeting, councilmembers voted, 3-1, in favor of having Steve Rousso, a health care transactional expert, prepare the draft of the RFP. Councilmember Laura Ferguson voted against the item, saying she believes it’s not fiscally prudent.
The city has been without a hospital since May 2016, when MemorialCare closed down its Saddleback Memorial Medical Center located on Camino De Los Mares. The operator wanted to turn the facility into an urgent care location. But residents and the council, at the time, rejected such a notion, advocating instead for an emergency room and hospital facilities.
According to the city, the primary objective of the RFP is to get a hospital reopened that can “provide inpatient acute care and surgical services as well as out-patient clinical and emergency room services to not only serve the City’s population, but also Southern Orange County cities.”
Sund also explained that the city will require the prospective hospital operators to detail their partners and affiliates, as well as list any potential collaborations such as special types of treatments they plan to have as part of the reopening the hospital. The bidders must also outline their legal and organizational structure, and identify other resources they plan to invest into the property.
Shawn Raymundo is the city editor for the San Clemente Times. 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.