“We will retain the 36 acres we have purchased in Gateway, but we will hold off on any development for at least 10 to 15 years,” said Dave Thompson, the hospital’s chief executive officer.
The new hospital building has been seen by the city of Tracy as one of the centerpieces of the Gateway project, according to City Manager Leon Churchill.
Though Churchill said the hospital’s decision was based on solid business philosophy, he nevertheless called the announcement “a blow.”
Churchill said that while the decision
could slow the growth
of the medical sector in the business park, Gateway still presents a high-end development opportunity unique to the area.
“I think Gateway is still well-positioned if the developers and investors are reasonably patient,” Churchill said. “That west side of the city is still going to be well-positioned for the sectors in environmental solutions and high-tech factories and logistics.”
Sutter Health Systems, the local hospital’s Sacramento-based parent, decided to purchase the Gateway property in 2006 and completed the purchase in 2009. The thrust of the project was to make the Gateway campus the main hospital, with the hospital on Tracy Boulevard becoming a satellite facility.
After reviewing the projected needs of Sutter Community Hospital in the immediate future, however, it was decided in recent months to hold off development of a new facility, which could cost up to $200 million, Thompson said.
Before a final decision was made, the issue was discussed with Sutter Health’s regional board, the hospital’s medical staff and the Tracy Hospital Foundation, he reported.
The administrator explained that the decision was based on two factors: a slowing of housing construction in both Tracy and Mountain House and shorter patient stays in the existing Sutter Tracy Community Hospital.
The result is that fewer patient beds are needed.
projects planned in the next several years for the existing facility will be financed by Sutter Health Systems funds, coupled with money raised by the Tracy Hospital Foundation, the community outreach and fundraising nonprofit affiliated with Sutter Tracy Community Hospital.
Unlike some other Sutter Health Systems hospitals, Sutter Tracy has no seismic problems that would require major retrofitting for earthquake safety, the hospital’s administrator said.
“This will permit the investments in the current facility over the next two years, bundled under the name ‘Leapfrog,’ to improve patient safety,” Thompson said.
He said a first step will be a $750,000 project to transform 36 double-bed rooms into single rooms equipped with ceiling-mounted apparatus that can lift immobile patients in and out of beds, while also reducing the number of in-patient beds.
The hospital foundation is kicking off a fundraising drive to finance its share of project, said Stuart Rogoff, the foundation’s executive director.
“At a gathering of foundation supporters last week, elements
of the project were outlined with a demonstration of the patient-lift system,” he said. “Everyone was enthusiastic about the project and its potential to improve the hospital’s safety for patients.”
For example, Rogoff said, a patient in bed can be lifted into a wheelchair or, if using a walker, lifted to a standing position.
A major initial fundraiser for the project will be a foundation-sponsored Gala for Life Champions for Health recognition dinner Jan. 24 at St. Bernard’s Catholic Church’s Holy Family Center on Valpico Road.
Rogoff said the first $100,000 raised by the foundation will be matched by Sutter Health Systems.
• Contact Sam Matthews at 830-4234 or email@example.com.
• Jon Mendelson contributed to this report.