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
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

By Jim Shilander and Andrea Swayne

After a number of doctors and hospital officials voiced support at Tuesday’s San Clemente City Council meeting, for the proposal to change Saddleback Memorial Medical Center’s San Clemente campus to an advanced urgent care center with additional out-patient services and no emergency room, Mayor Chris Hamm—noting that previously presented information from the health care provider had proved to be incorrect—accused MemorialCare of having “done nothing to show it is a partner in the community.”

Hospital administrator Tony Struthers and Hamm had a brief dialogue during Struthers’ time at the dais. Struthers said previous information presented to the board about bypass rates for the hospital had been incorrect, noting that it had been provided early in the process by a third party. Hamm then had asked for additional information, which Struthers said he could not provide at that time.

San Clemente Councilman Tim Brown said he “wasn’t sure it was productive to lob grenades” from the dais, and Hamm said he was speaking for himself and not the entire council.

Also on Tuesday, the Dana Point City Council voted 4-0 to adopt a resolution urging MemorialCare to “use all diligent and good faith efforts to assure that the provision of emergency medical service for Dana Point residents, business and visitors will not be impaired by changes” to the company’s existing hospital campus in San Clemente.

The item appeared on the agenda consent calendar but was pulled by Councilman Scott Schoeffel who announced he would not vote due to his work providing legal representation to businesses in the health care/medical field.

MemorialCare representatives have indicated their board of directors will put the matter to vote sometime in March.

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