Senator Bates and Assemblyman Brough Introduce Legislation Regarding San Clemente Hospital's Emergency Services

Monday, March 2, 2015

SACRAMENTO – Senator Patricia Bates and Assemblyman Bill Brough have introduced legislation intended to help preserve life-saving emergency care services at San Clemente’s Saddleback Memorial Medical Center, acting on behalf of thousands of residents concerned about the hospital’s future.

“The people of South Orange County deserve convenient access to emergency health care services, and we are committed to doing everything we can in the Legislature to preserve that access,” said Bates and Brough. “Our legislation is meant to facilitate a consensus between the hospital’s operator and the community, and we will continue to work with everyone in the weeks ahead.”

Bates and Brough introduced identical legislation in their respective chambers to jumpstart a dialogue with their colleagues, with Bates authoring Senate Bill 787 and Brough sponsoring Assembly Bill 911.

Both of these bills are intended to authorize San Clemente Hospital to operate a stand-alone emergency room for purposes of stabilizing patients prior to transfer to any other hospital in the region. The bills are intended to ensure that emergency services remain available to local residents.

San Clemente Hospital has served South Orange County for more than 40 years and is the only emergency care facility in San Clemente and neighboring communities. MemorialCare, the hospital’s operator, is considering plans to convert it into an ambulatory health care campus that would provide outpatient surgery and urgent care services.

With residents voicing their concerns over what the proposed change may mean to their communities, Bates and Brough met earlier this month with MemorialCare and a group of doctors opposed to the conversion. In the subsequent weeks, the legislators have maintained contact with all stakeholders, including the Save San Clemente Hospital Foundation, to help facilitate a consensus that would address local concerns.

“We both hope that our legislation will not be needed at the end of the day, but if that is what is required to preserve emergency care, then we will work hard to pass it into law,” said Bates and Brough. “We appreciate the perspectives of both sides. This is not an issue about whether health care services will remain in San Clemente, but whether paramedics can still transport emergency care patients to the proposed new facility. We are hopeful that a mutually beneficial outcome will soon be reached without going through the lengthy legislative process.”

Senator Patricia C. Bates (R-Laguna Niguel) represents the 36th Senate District in the California Legislature, which covers Southern Orange County, Northern San Diego County, and Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton.

Assemblyman William P. Brough represents California’s 73rd Assembly District in the Legislature, which includes the communities of Aliso Viejo, Coto de Caza, Dana Point, Ladera Ranch, Laguna Hills, Laguna Niguel, Las Flores, Mission Viejo, Rancho Santa Margarita, San Clemente, and San Juan Capistrano.