BERKELEY (KRON)—The Berkeley City Council passed a resolution Tuesday night against Sutter Health’s plan of shutting down Alta Bates Hospital in Berkeley.
Sutter Health announced it will close Alta Bates by the year 2030. The Berkeley hospital is the only full-service hospital between the corridor of Oakland and Vallejo.
City council members Kriss Worthington and Jesse Arrequinn said the closure would pose a threat to public safety.
Members argued that state records prove a “very high utilization rate of acute care services” over several years including more than one million days of patients having to stay at the hospital for medical attention.
Before the council voted, Alta Bates emergency room nurse Bipin Walia voiced her concern about closing Alta Bates.
“When you treat strokes and heart attacks, you learn that time is muscle, time is brain, time is the difference between life and death,” Walia said. “We have already seen an increase in patients since the closure of Doctors San Pablo. If patients have to travel further to Oakland, 6, 8, and 10-hour waits will be the norm. We need to keep a full service, acute care hospital.”
The only other hospital along the I-80 corridor is an Kaiser facility in Richmond. Kaiser is not a full-service hospital, and has been overwhelmed with patients since the closure of Doctors Medical Center in San Pablo last year.
Many of the patients from Doctors have also been taken to Alta Bates and have to travel further to receive medical attention.