Alameda Health System (AHS) is committed to continuing to provide critical health care services at Alameda Hospital including the only emergency department on the island and a world-class stroke center. AHS recognizes these services are critical for the health and safety of AHS patients, Alameda residents, and the community, especially during a disaster.

Upgrading Alameda Hospital to meet seismic requirements

In response to the Northridge earthquake, California lawmakers passed a law that requires hospitals to seismically upgrade their existing buildings or replace them to ensure safety by 2030. Buildings that don’t meet the earthquake standards must cease operations.

AHS is accountable for the delivery of quality health care services at Alameda Hospital while the City of Alameda Health Care District (the District) owns the buildings and is responsible for the structure including the seismic update.

AHS currently receives $6 million annually from the District through a Joint Powers Agreement (JPA) to provide health care services at the hospital. These funds are generated from an Alameda parcel tax. To support the District in meeting seismic upgrade requirements and to ensure critical health care services continue to be available at Alameda Hospital, on January 10, 2024, the AHS Board of Trustees (BOT) agreed to divert parcel tax dollars, totalling aproximately $55 million, to the District.  The District will utilize the funds to acquire a loan for the construction costs. In addition to the parcel tax, AHS has and is investing $42 million in infrastructure projects that support hospital operations. Visit the District website for more information.

Frequently asked questions

1. Is Alameda Hospital closing?
No. AHS is unequivocally committed to keeping Alameda Hospital open to continue providing critical health care services to all City of Alameda and Alameda County residents. In fact, AHS along with the City of Alameda Health Care District has committed to financing $55 million for Alameda Hospital’s seismic upgrade to ensure that Alameda Hospital remains open and operational. Additionally, AHS has and is investing $42 million in upgrades to Alameda Hospital.

 

2. Is the Emergency Department at Alameda Hospital closing?
No. The emergency room will continue to stay open and serve all Alameda residents, regardless of their ability to pay.

 

3. Why are elective surgeries being relocated?
AHS is relocating elective surgeries from Alameda Hospital to the Wilma Chan Highland Hospital Campus and San Leandro Hospital to better serve our patients and to offset costs associated with the seismic upgrade required to keep Alameda Hospital operational.

In response to the Northridge earthquake, California lawmakers passed a law that requires hospitals to seismically upgrade their existing buildings or replace them to ensure safety by 2030. Buildings that don’t meet the new earthquake standards must cease operations. The City of Alameda Health Care District (the District) owns Alameda Hospital’s buildings and is responsible for its structures, including the seismic update needed to continue operating. AHS is accountable for the delivery of quality health care services at Alameda Hospital and is committed to keeping Alameda Hospital operational. To support the District in meeting seismic upgrade requirements while ensuring that critical health care services continue to be available at Alameda Hospital, AHS and the District entered into an agreement that commits both parties to secure financing of approximately $55 million to upgrade the facilities and meet the seismic mandate. More info on the City of Alameda Health Care District website here.

AHS leaders and physicians identified three opportunities to offset the cost of the seismic upgrade including:

– Improve efficiencies
– Expand post-acute services to improve access
– Relocate elective surgeries to other AHS facilities

Through these proposed strategies, AHS will address the diversion of funds while continuing to provide critical health care services at Alameda Hospital including the only emergency department on the island, the Advanced Primary Stroke Center, inpatient acute and intensive care, and skilled nursing facilities that are recognized for being among the best in the country.

 

4. When are elective surgeries being relocated?
AHS is relocating elective surgery services from Alameda Hospital to the Wilma Chan Highland Hospital Campus and San Leandro Hospital starting July 1, 2024. All AHS surgery patients will continue to receive safe, high-quality care.

 

5. Will Alameda Hospital patients lose access to surgery?
No. Alameda Hospital is one of the three acute care hospitals in the Alameda Health System. AHS patients receive care at facilities across the system. Patients who previously received elective surgery at Alameda Hospital will now receive elective surgery care at the Wilma Chan Highland Hospital Campus or San Leandro Hospital.

 

6. How will the relocation of elective surgeries impact patients?
A cross-functional work group including physician and nursing leaders, post-acute staff, and operational staff recommend that the relocation of elective surgeries is in the best interest of our patients because:

– Relocating elective surgeries to other AHS hospitals will bring care closer to home for the majority of elective surgery patients. Meanwhile, AHS will expand post-acute services at Alameda Hospital and invest in seismic upgrades to ensure that City of Alameda residents continue to be served by a local emergency department, stroke center, and skilled nursing facilities that are recognized as among the best in the country.

– There is a low volume of surgeries – both elective and emergent – performed at Alameda Hospital. Centralizing elective surgeries at fewer locations will optimize patient and staff access to resources including people, services, technology, and equipment.

 

7. Will emergency surgeries continue to be performed at Alameda Hospital?
There is no current plan to move unscheduled or emergent surgeries from Alameda Hospital to other AHS hospitals. Surgery volumes are low at Alameda Hospital, which poses challenges to the efficient delivery of surgical care. AHS is in the process of exploring how to optimize safety and quality care in our operating rooms and has asked the California Department of Public Health for consultation about the options for unscheduled and emergent surgeries, an exploratory question we have posed in our efforts to analyze all strategies to ensure the highest quality of care for our patients.

 

8. Do any other AHS hospitals need to be seismically upgraded?
Yes. Work is already well underway to ensure compliance with 2030 seismic requirements at San Leandro Hospital and the Wilma Chan Highland Hospital Campus.