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By Jim Shilander
A number of San Clemente residents again turned out at the City Council meeting Tuesday to oppose the potential change of the hospital to an advanced urgent care facility.
A number of residents noted they, or relatives, had chosen the city to live in due to it having its own hospital. Saddleback Memorial San Clemente campus administrator Tony Struthers said that advocates for the current set-up should get behind a proposal to change the state’s rules allowing for free-standing emergency rooms. Dr. Gus Gialamis said members of a nonprofit group, Save San Clemente Hospital, were also advocating on behalf of such a change, but were told it might take three years.
San Clemente Mayor Chris Hamm confirmed at the meeting that he, along with Councilwoman Lori Donchak, Assistant City Manager Erik Sund and resident Mike Clark, would meet with MemorialCare CEO Steve Geidt and Struthers next week to discuss the issue.
Also on Tuesday, at the San Juan Capistrano and Dana Point city council meetings, public speakers, including physicians from the hospital, asked the council to take a stand against the hospital’s closure. The San Juan City Council unanimously passed a resolution opposing the hospital closure.
MemorialCare will host an open house from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 2 at the Ocean Institute, 24200 Dana Point Harbor Dr. in Dana Point, to discuss its current plans for the hospital property.