Facility and Technology Upgrades in Store for San Diego Hospitals Despite Economic Crunch
NASHVILLE, Tenn., Oct. 20 /PRNewswire/ — HealthLeaders-InterStudy, a leading provider of managed care market intelligence, reports that hospitals in the San Diego MSA are facing financial challenges associated with building upgrades needed to make hospitals resistant to earthquakes and securing affordable loans in light of the nation’s economy. However, the recent San Diego Market Overview finds that hospitals are moving ahead with expansion plans largely because of strong health systems and potential savings associated with a tool to better assess earthquake damage risk.
“Health systems in the San Diego MSA are following the national trend and looking to reduce costs and increase efficiency through new technology initiatives,” said Josh Kelley, market analyst with HealthLeaders-InterStudy. “San Diego-area hospitals are investing in major technology upgrades that include robotics, electronic medical records and electronic health records. In addition, they are hoping that a new software tool can help them reduce the cost of complying with state mandates to protect hospitals from earthquake damage.”
A new software tool, HAZUS-MH, developed by FEMA and approved for use in California is expected to save billions of dollars statewide in construction costs by helping hospitals more accurately assess their risk of earthquake damage. For San Diego’s Scripps Health, a HAZUS-MH assessment at its Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla resulted in four buildings receiving safety-rating upgrades, which means the deadline for retrofitting these buildings is extended until 2030.
State mandates require health systems to retrofit or replace hospitals that are susceptible to earthquake damage. The deadline for updating the most at-risk buildings is 2013, while buildings considered safer but still vulnerable to earthquakes have a deadline of 2030.
In addition to facility upgrades associated with earthquake risk, expansion efforts for several large health systems in the area continue.
“While nonprofit health systems are finding funding new buildings to be a burden, expansion plans are moving forward,” noted Kelley. “Scripps Health, for instance, is moving forward with planning for a $2.2 billion expansion that will span the next 10 years.”
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