Senator Patricia Bates and Assemblyman Bill Brough Lead Bipartisan Tour to Save San Clemente Hospital's ER

Community Leaders Champion Legislative Solution to Save ER Services
Monday, September 21, 2015

Senator Patricia Bates (R-Laguna Niguel) and Assemblyman Bill Brough (R-Dana Point) today hosted the chairs of the Legislature’s health committees and other officials on a bipartisan tour of Saddleback Memorial Medical Center’s San Clemente campus. The tour was conducted to show the importance of preserving emergency care services for South Orange County residents.

Senator Bates and Assemblyman Brough released the following statement after the tour:

“South Orange County residents deserve continued access to emergency services in San Clemente. We recognize the changing health care landscape that calls for new approaches to delivering care, and we hope that today’s tour showed members of the Legislature’s health committees the importance of allowing stand-alone emergency room services. We look forward to working with our colleagues and the community on enacting a solution in the months ahead that will be a win-win for all involved.”

The tour was designed to show the delegation the importance of preserving emergency care services at the campus. Acting on behalf of residents concerned about the future of emergency services, Bates authored Senate Bill 787 and Brough authored Assembly Bill 911 in March to allow Saddleback Memorial to operate stand-alone emergency room services on the San Clemente campus under its consolidated license. The Assembly and Senate Health Committees heard both bills in April, but postponed action on them for further study.

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. In August 2014, Saddleback Memorial announced it was considering a plan to convert it into an ambulatory health care campus. However, according to current state law, such a campus cannot accept 911 emergency patients from paramedics.

Present on today’s tour of San Clemente Hospital were:

  • Senator Patricia Bates (R-Laguna Niguel), Tour Co-Host
  • Assemblyman Bill Brough (R-Dana Point), Tour Co-Host
  • Senator Ed Hernandez (D-Azusa), Chair of the Senate Health Committee
  • Assemblyman Rob Bonta (D-Oakland), Chair of the Assembly Health Committee
  • Assemblyman Sebastian Ridley-Thomas (D-Los Angeles), Assembly Health Committee Member
  • Rob Knudsen, Representative of Assemblyman Brian Maienschein (R-San Diego)
  • San Clemente Mayor Chris Hamm
  • San Clemente Mayor Pro Tem Bob Baker
  • Dana Point Mayor Carlos Olvera
  • San Juan Capistrano Mayor Derek Reeve
  • MemorialCare Officials: Tony Struthers (Hospital Administrator); Steve Geidt (CEO of Saddleback Memorial Medical Center); Marc Taub, M.D. (Medical Director of Emergency Services) and Karen Sharp, R.N. (Director of Emergency Services)
  • Save Our Hospital Leaders Steve Cullen, M.D. and Gus Gialamas, M.D.
  • Orange County Fire Authority Battalion Chief Bill Lockhart and Division Chief John Abel
  • Orange County Sheriff’s Department Captain John Coppock
  • Mary Gray Perdue, Family Assistance Ministries Executive Director

After the tour, key stakeholders made the following statements:

Tony Struthers, San Clemente Hospital Administrator:

“We are tremendously pleased to have welcomed our state legislators to Saddleback San Clemente for this important educational session. We are proactively working together with the City of San Clemente and local physicians, residents, businesses, community groups, elected officials and others toward achieving our shared goal of establishing a satellite emergency department for the greater San Clemente community.” 

San Clemente Mayor Pro Tem Bob Baker:

“Without legislative relief, the residents and visitors to San Clemente will not have timely access to emergency medical care.  We urge the Legislature and the Governor to enact this legislation next year.”

Gus Gialamas, M.D., Chairman of Save Saddleback San Clemente Hospital:

"Over 11,000 community members have signed a petition to support keeping San Clemente Hospital and ER open. Save Saddleback San Clemente Hospital as a community non-profit commends Senator Bates, Assemblyman Brough and our City Council for bringing key health leaders in the Legislature to see first-hand the needs of our community as we seek a legislative solution to keep these critical emergency services alive in South Orange County.”

Assemblyman Rob Bonta, Chair of the Assembly Health Committee:

“I appreciate the opportunity to do a deep dive and look into this issue and I am committed to being a thought partner to craft a solution. It has been helpful to be here to listen and learn of the community’s need and desire to maintain an emergency room in San Clemente.”

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.

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.