New Study Finds Significant Safety and Health Impacts as a Result of Alta Bates Closure

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December 17, 2018
CONTACT: Karina Ioffee
(510) 981-7102 office
(510) 704-3337 cell



What: Release of Health Impact Assessment report on proposed Alta Bates Hospital closure

When: Tuesday, December 18, 2018 10:30a.m.

Where: Steps of Berkeley City Hall, 2180 Milvia St. Berkeley. In case of rain, the event will be held inside City Hall, in the Cypress Room on the 1st floor.

Confirmed speakers include:
Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguin
State Senator Nancy Skinner
Professor Jason Corburn
, UC Berkeley School of Public Health and Director of Institute of Urban & Regional Development 
Berkeley Fire Chief Dave Brannigan
Assemblymember Buffy Wicks
El Cerrito Mayor and Alta Bates nurse Rochelle Pardue - Okimoto

Jane Hood, Associated Students of UC Berkeley, Office of External Affairs

 Q & A for the media to follow after brief remarks

BERKELEY, CA – Closing Alta Bates Hospital will have major consequences to healthcare for East Bay residents, including longer wait times at local emergency rooms, reduced access by the elderly and poor, delays in ambulance transports and potentially increased deaths, according to a recently released Rapid Health Impact Assessment conducted by UC Berkeley’s Institute of Urban and Regional Development.

The much-anticipated report, published last week, is the first in-depth analysis since Sutter Health announced its plans to close the hospital by 2030. Last year, Alta Bates treated more than 50,000 patients in its emergency room and birthed more than 5,000 babies. The new study found that closing the community hospital would result in longer wait times at remaining regional emergency rooms and tie up emergency responders for longer periods of time. On the economic front, the report found that regional economy would lose an estimated $1.5 billion a year in wages, contracts and local spending if the hospital were to close.

“Our research found that the closure of Alta Bates hospital could adversely impact the health of all populations in the East Bay, but particularly those in Richmond and West Contra Costa County, and those already vulnerable, such as the elderly, homeless and uninsured populations,” said Jason Corburn, UC Berkeley School of Public Health and Director of Institute of Urban & Regional Development, who authored the report. “A comprehensive plan is needed to ensure all populations and places have access to quality and affordable health services.”

In an event of a disaster like a large earthquake or wildfire, the injured would have to travel further to access care, the new report found. This will result in delayed care, increase in avoidable hospitalizations and more fatalities. Key among the findings is the impact on the poor, the uninsured and people of color who are much more likely to not have a primary care doctor and not seek alternative care if Alta Bates closes. More than 40% of patients seen by Alta Bates are people of color and nearly 20% live below the poverty level.

“The study confirms our deepest fears about what a hospital closure in our community would mean for our most vulnerable populations,” said Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguin. “Alta Bates is a vital community resource and its closure would result in reduced access to healthcare for many of our residents. Sutter needs to find a way to save the hospital. It is unconscionable to close a hospital at a time when the population of the city and region are growing.


The full report can be accessed at:

Jesse Arreguin