The Dana Point City Council voted Tuesday to support keeping the current Saddleback Memorial  Medical Center-San Clemente campus open to keep emergency services in the area. Photo: Brian Park
Saddleback Memorial Medical Center-San Clemente campus. File photo.

By Eric Heinz

The City Council of San Clemente sent a press release asking area residents to write letters to their legislators in support of Senate Bill 787 (Patricia Bates) and Assembly Bill 911 (Bill Brough), which would authorize a satellite emergency room at the current location of the Saddleback Memorial Hospital San Clemente Campus. By state law, stand-alone ERs are not permitted and must be a part of a full-service hospital. In 2014 MemorialCare announced plans to close the hospital and ER and replace it with an urgent care facility.

“When the City of San Clemente became aware of the potential closure of the Saddleback Memorial Hospital San Clemente Campus in late 2014, it took immediate steps to understand the impacts, seek community input, involve stakeholders and seek plans to mitigate this potential impact to the city,” the release stated. “Approval of these bills will help ensure south Orange County residents are able to retain access to quality healthcare and not be forced to travel 15 miles north on the I-5 Freeway to access the nearest emergency department—a road in which the access and travel time is uncertain due to traffic congestion and road construction.”

The Dana Point City Council passed a resolution in March 2015 joining with San Clemente and other area cities in support of saving the hospital and ER.

AB 911 is set to be heard in the state capitol before the Assembly Health Committee on Tuesday, Jan. 12. SB 787 is expected to be heard before the Senate Health Committee on Wednesday, Jan. 13. Members of the San Clemente City Council will appear before these policy committees to testify in support of these bills.

Letters can be sent to State Sen. Patricia Bates and Assemblyman Bill Brough’s respective staff at Kevin.Bassett@sen.ca.gov and Jeff Montejano at: jeff.montejano@asm.ca.gov.
—Andrea Swayne contributed to this report.

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