After years of delay, retrofitting and rebuilding, more than 90 percent of California’s acute care hospital buildings are no longer at risk of collapse during an earthquake, according to the most recent data from the state’s Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development (OSHPD).
But the remaining hospitals still need to meet the state’s tough seismic safety requirements, or close buildings that are not up to standard by 2030. Buildings at six rural “critical access” hospitals remain on the state’s list of structures most likely to collapse in an earthquake, and their administrators face challenges keeping them open.
“I am very pleased with the progress that has been made,” said Robert David, director of OSHPD, which oversees hospital earthquake safety. “Based on information and schedules provided by the hospitals … the remaining acute care buildings appear to be on track to meet the state deadline to withstand a major earthquake or be removed from service.”
An estimated 251 buildings are still rated “SPC-1,” the highest risk category — down from more than 1,000 in 2001, according to OSPHD spokesman David Byrnes.
Another 629 buildings are rated “SPC-2,” the second highest risk. Not all of those buildings house patients; some may hold administrative offices, for example. But state law requires all buildings in the top two risk categories to close by 2030 unless they have been repaired or replaced. In addition, all SPC-1 buildings must be retrofitted to meet at least SPC-2 requirements by 2020 unless a hospital has received a specific deadline extension from OSPHD.