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Hospital Seismic Safety and Medical Facilities
County of Santa Clara
Bond Measure - 2/3 Approval Required
Pass: 475,882 / 78.12% Yes votes ...... 133,272 / 21.88% No votes
Index of all Measures
|Results as of Nov 25 11:10am, 100.0% of Precincts Reporting (1,142/1,142)|
|Information shown below: Yes/No Meaning | Impartial Analysis | Arguments | Tax Rate Statement | Full Text|
Hospital Seismic Safety and Medical Facilities
To prevent state mandated shutdown of one-half of Santa Clara Valley Medical Center's beds; closure of SCVMC's trauma, burn center; and, loss of disaster response, by rebuilding, and improving earthquake safety of the hospital, meeting state seismic laws, and help replace closed medical facilities in downtown San Jose, shall the County of Santa Clara issue $840 million in general obligation bonds with independent citizens' oversight committee, annual audits, and no money for administrators' salaries?
State law, adopted following the temporary closure of several hospitals resulting from the 1994 Northridge earthquake, mandates that hospitals comply with seismic safety requirements by 2013, subject to a two-year extension to 2015 if certain requirements are met. Any hospital facility that does not undergo the mandated seismic upgrade and remains at potential risk of collapse, or which poses significant loss of life, in the event of a major earthquake is restricted to being used solely for non-acute care purposes.
The County proposes issuing bonds in the amount of $840,000,000 at legal rates to: (1) retrofit the Santa Clara Valley Medical Center (SCVMC); and (2) fund medical facilities in downtown San Jose to replace the closed San Jose Medical Center. The stated purpose of the bonds is to pay for the state-mandated seismic upgrade in order to prevent elimination of over half of SCVMC's acute care patient beds and its trauma and burn center, and to pay for additional medical facilities in the downtown San Jose area.
Measure A includes all accountability measures required by State law, and also requires the creation of a Citizens' Oversight Committee to review annual reports on the collection and expenditure of funds. Additionally, it prohibits the County from using bond proceeds for administrators' salaries.
The County's best estimate of the tax required to be levied to fund the bonds during the first fiscal year after the sale of the first series of bonds is $13.90 per $100,000 of the assessed value of taxable property within the County. The County's best estimate of the highest tax required to fund this bond issue during the first fiscal year after the last sale of the bonds is $13.90 per $100,000 of assessed valuation. The County's best estimate of the highest tax rate required to levy the bonds is $13.90 per $100,000 of assessed valuation.
A "yes" vote would authorize the issuance and sale of the bonds in the amount of $840,000,000, to be secured by the levy of ad valorem taxes on property located within the County.
A "no" vote would not authorize the issuance and sale of the bonds in the amount of $840,000,000, to be secured by the levy of ad valorem taxes on property located within the County.
Ann Miller Ravel
League of Women Voters
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|Arguments For Measure A||Arguments Against Measure A|
|Valley Medical Center (VMC) - the hospital our community will rely on in the event of a disaster or critical injury - doesn't meet California's mandatory earthquake safety standards.
A YES vote will make essential safety improvements to keep this vital hospital open when we need it most.
VMC is a Level One Trauma Center, the highest-level hospital facility, and able to treat the most serious accident and emergency patients. No matter where you usually go for healthcare, if you are the victim of a serious accident or emergency in Santa Clara County, you are likely to be taken to VMC's Trauma Center.
The 1994 Northridge earthquake in Southern California killed 70 people and sent 1,600 seeking emergency care to local hospitals. Tragically, the damage forced 11 area hospitals to close.
Following that disaster, the State Legislature passed a law requiring all California hospitals to be seismically safe by 2013. But the legislature provided NO state funding to make hospitals earthquake safe.
Measure A will provide the necessary funding for Valley Medical Center to comply with this State mandate and ensure our County's busiest hospital is seismically safe and able to operate following the next big quake, which as we all know, could strike at any time.
VMC is our lifeline in a disaster, but without Measure A, many of its facilities - including essential emergency and trauma care facilities - will be forced to close, including:
We urge a YES vote on Measure A - an investment that might save your life.
/s/ Mike Honda
|No arguments against this measure were submitted to the Registrar of Voters.|
|Tax Rate Statement|
|The following tax rate statement is provided to the voters pursuant to Elections Code section 9401. The tax rate statement is a critical document that explains the estimated increase in the tax rate that would be needed to fund the debt service on the bonds.
The best estimate from official sources of the tax rate that would be required to be levied to fund that bond issue during the first fiscal year after the first sale of the bonds based on assessed valuations available at the time of the election or a projection based on experience within the same jurisdiction or other demonstrable factors is $.0139. This equates to $13.90 per $100,000 of assessed value.
The best estimate from official sources of the tax rate that would be required to be levied to fund that bond issue during the first fiscal year after the last sale of the bonds if the bonds are proposed to be sold in series is $.0139. This equates to $13.90 per $100,000 of assessed value. An estimate of the year in which that rate will apply based on assessed valuations available at the time of the election is 2009.
The best estimate from official sources of the highest tax rate that would be required to be levied to fund that bond issue is $.0139. This equates to $13.90 per $100,000 of assessed value. An estimate of the year in which that rate will apply based on assessed valuations available at the time of the election is 2009.
These estimates are based on current market conditions and economic outlook, and assume an interest rate of 5.5%. It represents the County's best estimate from official sources of the tax rate that would be levied to fund the bonds that would be authorized if the voters approve this measure. The maximum legal limit for the interest rate on the bonds is 12%. The first year in which the tax rates are expected to apply is the fiscal year starting July 1, 2009. The total amount of bonded indebtedness will not at any time exceed 1.25% of the taxable property of the county as shown by the last equalized assessment roll.
|Full Text of Measure A|
|The following is the full proposition presented to the voters by the County of Santa Clara:
The purpose of this bond measure is to provide a source of funding for the seismic safety compliance project at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center (SCVMC). The SCVMC upgrades are needed to ensure that the hospital inpatient facilities comply with state earthquake safety mandates and that there is no reduction in SCVMC's state-licensed bed capacity and to ensure that the trauma and burn center remain open. The bond measure would also provide $50,000,000 toward funding medical services lost when San Jose Medical Center closed in 2004. Approval of the bond measure would authorize the County to issue up to $840,000,000 of bonds for these projects. The maximum rate of interest for the bonds would be the legal limit of 12%.
SCVMC Seismic Safety Projects
State law (Senate Bill 1953 (1994), amending the Alfred E. Alquist Seismic Safety Act) imposes seismic mandates that require the County of Santa Clara to make substantial changes to SCVMC's inpatient facilities to retain its licensing and current level of service. The law imposes the following timeline: (1) by no later than 2013/2015, buildings must remain standing and occupants must be able to exit safely; and (2) by 2030, buildings are to remain operational and capable of providing acute-care medical services to the public.
Although almost half of SCVMC's inpatient beds are in seismically compliant buildings, over half are not. To comply with state earthquake safety law, the County has developed the SCVMC Seismic Safety Project, which is described in more detail below.
If the earthquake safety projects are not implemented in a timely fashion, SCVMC will be forced to close 272 beds, reducing its licensed general acute capacity from 524 to 252 beds. This reduced capacity would mean that approximately 10,500 people who would otherwise be served each year would be turned away. Our community already has an inadequate number of hospital beds, and any loss of SCVMC bed capacity would exacerbate this shortage. Santa Clara County currently has among the lowest ratio of available hospital beds per 1,000 population of any urban region in the state or nation. SCVMC provides care to 25% of County residents over a 4-year period. SCVMC operates one of only two burn-trauma centers north of Los Angeles, and operates a trauma center designated at the highest level for both adults and children. Last year, nearly 6,000 babies were delivered at SCVMC. Without sufficient inpatient beds, emergency room wait-times and ambulance diversions throughout the community would spike upward and the hospital would be forced to close its trauma and burn centers. Moreover, the County would have no surge capacity to respond to natural or human-caused disasters such as earthquakes, pandemic flu or terrorist attacks.
The number of patients seeking care at SCVMC has increased 45% since 2000, as San Jose Medical Center closed and other area hospitals stopped accepting Medi-Cal patients. On many days, the number of patients at SCVMC is limited by the number of beds. The loss of any capacity at SCVMC could create a serious void in the County's healthcare safety net, affecting both insured and uninsured patients.
While the need for the SCVMC earthquake safety projects is clear, project funding still needs to be secured. The estimated cost of these projects is $1.4 billion. Funding the projects will require several financing sources.
The County Board of Supervisors has already taken actions to commit $73 million in San Jose Delegated Redevelopment Agency Funds, $100 million in Tobacco Securitization Funds, and $5 million in County capital funds for the earthquake safety projects. The SCVMC Foundation has also committed to undertake a capital campaign to support the effort. The County is also seeking state and federal funds for projects undertaken by publicly-owned hospitals to comply with earthquake safety requirements.
If the voters approve this bond measure, approximately $785 million of the bond proceeds would be made available for the SCVMC seismic projects.
The SCVMC Seismic Safety Project is to be accomplished in two phases, including the demolition of several older structures and construction of new buildings that meet current seismic standards for acute-care hospital facilities. There are currently 524 licensed acute care hospital beds at SCVMC. The Seismic Safety Project would replace approximately 272 beds in the Old Main, Ancillary, and Rehabilitation Buildings over the course of the project. Throughout the various phases of construction, and at full buildout, the number of licensed beds would remain the same. At full buildout, the square footage of the hospital uses on the SCVMC campus would increase by approximately 393,000 square feet (39%) to a total of 1.4 million square feet. There would be a net decrease in medical office uses of approximately 22,000 square feet (31,000 square feet with basement and penthouse), and a net decrease in non-hospital administrative office uses of approximately 27,700 square feet at conclusion of the project. Parking would be provided in existing and planned parking structures and lots.
Medical Facilities in San Jose
The closure of San Jose Medical Center in 2004 reduced regional hospital capacity and resulted in increased demands for service at SCVMC and other community hospitals. Residents of downtown San Jose were particularly hard-hit because they lost both a local hospital and an emergency room that had served the area for 80 years. In response to the closure, the County of Santa Clara and City of San Jose jointly commissioned a study that concluded that there was a need for certain types of healthcare services in downtown San Jose to replace those that were lost. This study caused San Jose to form a Stakeholder Advisory Committee, whose final recommendations were presented to the San Jose City Council in March 2008.
The Stakeholder Advisory Committee report recommended that urgent care services be established and primary care services be expanded in the downtown area, and that a joint City-County Taskforce be established to assess future healthcare needs for the area. Availability of urgent care and expanded primary care services in or near downtown San Jose, possibly operated by an established local provider, would add much-needed healthcare services capacity for the community.
If the voters approve this bond measure, approximately $50 million would be made available for medical facilities in San Jose.
Accountability and Citizen Oversight Measures
Pursuant to Government Code section 53410, the following additional accountability measures will be complied with for this bond measure:
The specific purposes of the bonds to be issued pursuant to this bond measure are to fund the SCVMC Seismic Safety Project and replacement medical facilities in downtown San Jose, as described above. The proceeds of any bonds issued pursuant to this bond measure will be applied only to these specific purposes. The County will create an account into which the bond proceeds shall be deposited, and will ensure that an annual report is prepared and filed pursuant to Government Code section 53411. A Citizens' Oversight Committee will be established to review the annual report each year to ensure that bond proceeds are being spent in compliance with this ballot measure.