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California Has Fewer Acute Care Beds Per Population Than Other Big States

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, May 4, 2010

Shannon says an important aspect of the report was how it illustrated great geographic disparity in the location of hospital beds within the state. For example, Los Angeles, where 11 hospitals had closed between 2001 and 2007, still has the highest number of licensed beds per 1,000 population, 2.5, compared with the fast-growing Inland Empire, which includes Riverside and San Bernardino counties, which have only 1.7.

Also of interest is that 62% of the licensed beds in the state are owned by non-profit hospitals, 18% are investor-owned, 7% are district hospitals, and 13% are public hospitals.

The report briefly mentioned the challenge faced by many of California's remaining 400 hospitals, which must comply with earthquake safety requirements.

"More than 200 acute care hospitals still have buildings that are in danger of collapse during an earthquake and must be replaced by 2013," the report says.

The Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development, the state agency that has the authority to approve hospital seismic safety, provided a more recent count yesterday, saying that 242 hospitals currently don't meet 2013 requirements, and those hospitals collectively have 819 buildings that aren't in compliance.

"However, not all have to be replaced by 2013," explains OSHPD spokesman David Byrnes. "Some are eligible for extensions to 2015 and/or 2020. Also, some may be eligible for reclassification," in which they would be deemed safe enough that they would not have to meet such strict standards.


Cheryl Clark is senior quality editor and California correspondent for HealthLeaders Media. She is a member of the Association of Health Care Journalists.
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