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Calif. hospital to close after outpatient conversion plan fails

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Saddleback Memorial, in wealthy San Clemente, Calif.,   will close May 31 because of falling inpatient volumes, in a sign of the rapidly accelerating national move to outpatient treatment for  the sort of patients who used to be expected to spend at least several days in the hospital.

Hospital officials said that there are often fewer than 10 inpatients at the hospital, and  inpatient surgeries have dropped to less than one a day.

In August 2014, MemorialCare, the parent system, announced plans to convert the 73-bed hospital into an outpatient medical campus and worked with state lawmakers to allow a satellite emergency department at the outpatient campus in San Clemente. However, the legislation failed in January.  Then the San Clemente City Council rezoned the San Clemente campus property to require hospital services.

“Without legislation to allow a satellite emergency department, and given this new restrictive rezoning that requires hospital services, the vision to convert the campus into a modern ambulatory care center cannot now be achieved,” hospital officials said.

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