Alta Bates to Remain, But Herrrick’s Fate in Doubt

By Richard Brenneman
Thursday October 09, 2008 - 09:22:00 AM

Berkeley may be facing the loss of one of its two hospitals. 

The issue was raised by Berkeley City Councilmember Laurie Capitelli during a Sept. 22 candidate forum. Audience member Daniel Caraco reported that Councilmember Capitelli told the audience that he had attended a meeting of Alta Bates-Summit Medical Center officials, who said closure of the two facilities was planned. 

E-mails flooded the community after the presentation, but Carolyn Kemp said Wednesday that there’s no intention of closing one of the facilities, the Alta Bates Campus at 2450 Ashby Ave., while the fate of the second, the Herrick campus at 2001 Dwight Way, remains in question. 

“Earlier planning discussions saw us leaving the Herrick Campus before 2013,” she said in an e-mail. “Now we know that services (with the exception of Acute Rehabilitation) will remain at Herrick through 2013. After 2013 we will revisit this decision.” 

The 2013 date is the state-imposed deadline for hospitals to implement seismic retrofits, which are already under way at the Ashby campus.  

Herrick is an older facility and does not provide surgical or emergency room facilities, unlike the facility on Ashby, which is a full-service hospital. Herrick does provide acute rehabilitation services, comprehensive cancer care and mental health services, Kemp said.  

Both facilities are part of the three-facility Alta Bates-Summit Medical Center group of hospitals owned by the Sacramento-based Sutter Health chain. The third member is Summit Medical Center in Oakland, which occupies a complex of buildings between Telegraph Avenue and Webster Street from 30th to 34th streets. 

The acute rehabilitation services now at Herrick will eventually be moved to the Oakland facility, though no final target date has been set. 

In its deliberations over the new proposed Downtown Area Plan, members of the citizen committee drafting the plan urged that the Herrick facility retain at least some community-serving health functions. 

Councilmember Capitelli had not returned a call for comment by deadline Wednesday.