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A rendering of the potential look of a proposal for a medical pavilion at the current site of the Saddleback Memorial San Clemente campus. Photo: Courtesy MemorialCare
A rendering of the potential look of a proposal for a medical pavilion at the current site of the Saddleback Memorial San Clemente campus. Photo: Courtesy MemorialCare

By Jim Shilander

San Clemente residents on both sides of the debate over the future of San Clemente’s hospital got a closer look at some of the proposed design of an advanced urgent care facility at Saddleback Memorial San Clemente campus Thursday at an open house at Bella Collina Towne & Golf Club.

The presentations included potential looks for the proposed facility created by NexCore, a health care real estate developer. NexCore’s Todd Varney said the proposed facility would be built on four levels, with one below grade and three above grade. The proposal would add to the number of parking spaces utilized at the site. The basement level would include an outpatient surgery center, with urgent care, labs, imaging and a women’s health center on the first floor. The top floors would be reserved for primary and specialty care offices.

Critics of the proposal, announced in August, maintain that the city would be left bereft of emergency care as a result of the proposal, since, under current law, a medical facility cannot have an emergency room without an in-patient hospital. MemorialCare officials have indicated a willingness to pursue legislation to change the rules to allow for a freestanding emergency room.

Members of a nonprofit group created to fight the closure have encouraged MemorialCare to sell the facility if it is not committed to providing emergency care. Hospital officials have countered by saying that they are open to providing emergency care but that projections for the future of inpatient care indicate that it will be difficult to make it work economically.

A second open house will be held from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 2, at the Ocean Institute, 24200 Dana Point Harbor Dr. in Dana Point to discuss its current plans for the hospital property.

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