Catalina Island Medical Center Foundation

The 2018 Ballot Measure

We want to thank all the supporters of the Transit Tax Ballot Measure who came out and voted on April 10. Even though the measure did not pass, we are not giving up on a new hospital for Catalina Island!

Key issues that may have affected the vote were the uncertainty of a site for the new medical center as well as misconceptions about what kinds of services the new hospital would provide. Not to mention that the costs of building a new hospital are hard to wrap one’s mind around.

The problem facing our community still remains – our hospital cannot meet seismic requirements and will be shuttered by 2030. If we truly value keeping an emergency room and a hospital right here where we live, where it matters most – then we must fight to make that vision a reality.

Your dedication to this community through your activism on this critical issue is so appreciated! We hope you’ll continue to join us as we regroup and strategize on the next steps to ensure the future of medical care on Catalina Island.

Why a New Medical Center - and Why Now?

New medical facilities are sorely needed on Catalina Island to serve the current and growing needs of our community. If we are not in compliance with the new earthquake safety requirements by 2030, the Medical Center will close. The loss of our island hospital could result in a catastrophic loss of tourism revenue for local businesses.

The current facility is significantly undersized to serve the current patient care demand and has insufficient space to be able to meet the needs of the forecast visitor growth. The facility’s size and configuration cannot accommodate modern and expanded programs of care, prevention, health, and wellness that our community needs.

Earthquake Safety Requirements

The State of California has mandated that all hospitals meet earthquake safety standards as established by the year 2030 – which means we must begin raising the necessary funds for a new medical center. If the Catalina Island Medical Center cannot meet the seismic standards by 2030, it will close.

Enhanced Services & Facilities

The very foundation of the new Catalina Island Medical Center facility will be the needs of our community. The new medical center will have private rooms, an operating room, infusion therapy, a fitness facility, digital mammography, and more – enhancing care for the residents and visitors we serve.

Meeting Needs in Our Growing Community

The small hospital that opened in 1960 is now serving a population of over 4,500 residents and 1 million visitors every year – more than four times the number it was built to serve almost 60 years ago! New facilities are sorely needed to serve the current needs of our community, and the loss of our island hospital could result in a catastrophic loss of tourism revenue for local businesses.

Ensure Healthy Tourism Industry

The Catalina Island Medical Center’s closure could be catastrophic to the tourism industry on Catalina Island. Without an emergency room and hospital, tens of thousands of visitors – especially seniors and families with young children – would likely reconsider their vacation choice.


Our hospital is facing its own emergency - but you can help!


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"The State of California won't really force the hospital to close if seismic requirements are not met by 2030."

Yes, it will. All hospitals that don’t meet standards have to be retrofitted or replaced by 2030 or the State will close its doors. It is not expected that the date will be moved back so we are moving forward with that date in mind.

“The emergency room transports the majority of patients off the island by helicopter, anyway.”

Nope. Only 5%-8% of ER patients are transferred to a hospital overtown by helicopter. Our ER and hospital are filling a real need in our community.

“The new medical center is going to subsidize plastic surgery.”

CIMC does not have the intention of developing an outpatient plastic surgery center. The hospital does desire to develop a small operating room for outpatient procedures. Primary services that will be provided are endoscopy, orthopedics, GYN, and ophthalmology. No funds will be utilized to subsidize plastic surgery.

“The hospital will not take my insurance.”

CIMC will contract with any insurance company that offers a fair and reasonable contract. It was disappointing that CIMC had to cancel the contract with THIPA. CIMC cannot provide care for free to large insurance companies and subsidize the profits of Torrance Memorial Medical Center. All patients will be seen for emergency services and all insurance companies cover the use of the Emergency Department for emergency care.

“The new medical center costs too much.”

Projected costs are in line with what hospitals cost to build. The State of California requires healthcare facilities to be constructed at much higher standard than most buildings. Plus, healthcare equipment and materials are much more expensive than that of an average office building. Hospitals are also required to have system redundancies for electricity, water, and internet access that save lives.

For example, a $30 million dollar facility will be woefully inadequate for the needs of our current and growing population. It would allow for only a few thousand more square feet of space. Patients would continue to share a rooms and bathrooms with other patients, which would lead to infection control and confidentiality issues. The summer time volumes currently are to large for the small space that is in use. With a $30 million dollar budget, the emergency department would stay the same size, leading to confidentiality issues.

“We only need an Urgent Care Center.”

An urgent care center will not meet the needs of Catalina and it will be extremely difficult to recruit and retain physicians to staff an urgent care. Primary care physicians, Family Practice, will not be willing to come to Catalina without the support services of a functioning Emergency Department. Family Practice Physicians are not trained to care for the patients with emergency needs, nor is the clinic designed or staffed for the patients that will come to the clinic. Family Practice physicians will not be willing to except the responsibility or liability of providing care to acute cardiac, stroke or other emergency conditions. In addition, Paramedics will not transport to an urgent care center.

“We only need a standalone emergency department."

A standalone emergency department works well overtown where an emergency department will see 200- 300 patients a day. In order to have an emergency department it is necessary to have radiology and laboratory services. The volume levels of the emergency department are not large enough to have those services. In order to support radiology and laboratory the medical center needs to have a clinic, long-term care, acute care and new programs to create the volumes necessary to have an organization that supports itself financially. 

“We don’t know if the funds will be spent appropriately.”

Both the hospital and the city are financially audited by a Certified Public Accounting firm on an annual basis to ensure that funds are being spent appropriately in the manner they are designated.

"The new hospital is trying to become destination healthcare."

The plans for the hospital are for residents and for visitors of the island. CIMC is not designing a facility to try to entice non-residents to come to the island for care.