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Following the recent survey regarding residents’ health and safety concerns in San Clemente, the City released a video highlighting the history of the City’s numerous efforts to reestablish a local hospital at the legacy site on Camino De Los Mares. 

“The City of San Clemente has spent the last several years consulting with experts and doing extensive research to examine the possibility of operating a hospital in our City,” said  Mayor Gene James. “We believe that our community will benefit from understanding the City’s  past efforts as we launch a new discussion of local health care options.” 

The City’s efforts to sustain an operating hospital include: 

  • Introduced legislation: In 2015, San Clemente’s state legislators Senator Pat  Bates and Assemblyman Bill Brough, introduced SB 787 and AB 911 to allow for a free-standing emergency room in California. The legislation did not garner enough support, so the state’s prohibition of free-standing emergency rooms remains to this day.  
  • Changed the land use of former hospital site: In 2016, the City changed the land use of the hospital site and established a regional hospital zone to encourage the maintenance of the hospital, consequently resulting in a costly lawsuit with MemorialCare. The City Council Hospital Subcommittee reestablished a positive relationship with MemorialCare Health Systems, which led to a settlement of all litigation in June 2019.
  • Studied financial feasibility: San Clemente evaluated the financial feasibility of costs associated with remodeling or rebuilding the existing hospital on the  MemorialCare property, as well as the annual costs to operate the hospital.  
  • Issued a Request for Proposals (RFP): In 2020, the City published a RFP to recruit another provider to purchase the former hospital site and operate a  hospital with an emergency room. The City received a couple letters of interest,  but not a single proposal due to financial and operational concerns.  
  • Considered public hospital district formation: The City met with other California public hospital districts to further research the process for building and operating a local hospital with public funds and within the parameters of a  California public hospital district. The possibility of acquiring the property was determined to be cost-prohibitive due to high litigation costs. 
  • Surveyed residents: In 2021, the City distributed a survey to determine the public’s attitudes about current, locally available health care options. The results of the survey made it clear that a new community discussion is needed to ensure that all members of the community are confident in their access to quality health care. 

To offer a platform for the community to engage in a new, robust conversation about health care options in San Clemente, the City is holding two community roundtables:  On April 9, 2022, at 10:00 AM, the City will hold a “Meet the Experts” panel discussion via Zoom. A panel of regional experts and city leaders, including Mayor Gene James, Mayor  Pro Tem Chris Duncan, and representatives from Orange County Fire Authority, County  EMS, UCI Health, and the Hospital Association of Southern California, will discuss and answer questions about the City’s health care history and possible options to improve current health care services. 

Join the Community Roundtable online: 3RvZz09
Passcode: 040619
Or join the Community Roundtable by phone: +1 720 707 2699 or +1 253 215 8782
Webinar ID: 896 2484 4667 | Passcode: 040619 

On April 23, 2022, at 10:00 AM, the City will hold a Community Roundtable at the  San Clemente Community Center. At this listening session, city staff will facilitate a  discussion between community leaders and the public on what steps can be taken to improve health care options, including the possibility of new health care facilities. Community representatives will be present to interact with the public as residents share their input on what health care services their household needs. 

“The City is excited about facilitating a new conversation with the community to identify and find solutions to local health care gaps in service,” said City Manager Erik Sund. “I  encourage all community members to participate in these community roundtables to stay  informed on this matter and share feedback on what would be best for our community moving  forward.”  

For information on San Clemente’s history in local health care advocacy and additional roundtable details, visit