By Jim Shilander

Though it may not have an impact on the final decision, the San Clemente City Council voted Tuesday to oppose a proposal by MemorialCare to convert its San Clemente hospital—Dana Point’s nearest hospital and emergency room—campus into an advanced urgent care center.

The resolution, which was brought before the city’s ad-hoc Hospital Advisory Committee last month, asks MemorialCare to delay any decision on Saddleback Memorial Medical Center’s future until the city could guarantee emergency room services be continued, in some form, or public safety could be assured.

Dialogue between the council, hospital administrator Tony Struthers and members of the public showed there were disagreements over facts in the proposal, specifically, the amount of time emergency transport could take to get residents to other area hospitals if the San Clemente emergency room closed.

The hospital’s board is scheduled to vote on the proposal in March. A final meeting of the city’s hospital committee will be held Wednesday, Dec. 17 at the San Clemente Community Center, 100 N. Calle Seville.

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