Fallbrook Hospital

The current Fallbrook Hospital opened on Elder Street in 1960. After being operated independently until 1998, it is now operated under a 30 year lease by Community Health Systems (CHS) of Brentwood, TN, which specializes in operating small hospitals.

The hospital has 47 licensed acute-care beds, an emergency room, radiology, surgical and obstetrics units and pharmacy, and has a free-standing 99-bed skilled nursing facility. The Emergency Room has a capacity of 7 patients.

About half the people in the Fallbrook community use the Hospital. Fallbrook Hospital sees 50,000 patients a year, including 10,000-11,000 people in the Emergency Room, which is staffed 24 hours a day. 21% of the Emergency Room patients are children and 35% elderly. The total emergency room staff consists of 18 professional emergency room nurses and a contracted group of professional emergency room physicians. The busiest times are weekend days, meal times, and right after people get off of work. Average "turnaround time" for Emergency Room patients is under one hour.

Fallbrook Hospital has 420 employees and an $11 million annual payroll, the second largest single employer in Fallbrook.

A $4.2 million three-phase expansion beginning in June 2001 will triple the size of the Radiology Department, enlarge its outpatient waiting area, update facilities to comply with the 2008 earthquake building code, and upgrade the information and computer systems. CHS is funding the expansion.

A law passed after the 1994 Northridge earthquake requires all acute-care hospitals to withstand a 7.0 magnitude earthquake by 2008. By 2030, all hospitals must also remain "reasonably capable" of continuing to treat patients after such an earthquake, which may require constructing an entirely new building. The expansion will include bracing all existing water pipes and roof drains, strengthening floors, and adding concrete support structures and new columns to support the renovation's planned second floor.

The $1.5 million first phase will move administrative offices (including the laboratory, physical therapy, medical records) to the 16,000 square foot second-story area now used for storage. The second phase will renovate the ground floor Radiology and Imaging Departments. The third phase will move the main entrance to the front of the hospital and add a larger waiting room.

In 1951, citizens approved a hospital district and voted to support the hospital with a property tax assessment which yields ~$600,000 per year in 2000. These revenues formerly went directly to the Hospital, but after the Hospital was leased, these public funds could not go to any private leasee. Hence the funds are now dispersed by an elected Fallbrook board for local health programs such as cancer screening programs, health education, efforts to reduce teen pregnancy, drug use, and well-baby care for poor. Some revenues must be saved each year to "buy back" the undepreciated capital improvement assets that CHS puts in over the next thirty years. Some revenues are also being saved toward building a new hospital by 2030 to meet the earthquake code.

See also Fallbrook Hospital History.

Sources: NCT 7/2/00, 12/28/00 B1, B6; VN 8/20/98, 9/3/98; Fallbrook 1869-1977, published by the Fallbrook Historical Society; Fallbrook: the Friendly Village by Gloria Walls Seelye; and a few other NCT articles I failed to record.

Go to Fallbrook Organizations

Copyright © 1997-2000 by Tom Chester.
Permission is freely granted to reproduce any or all of this page as long as credit is given to me at this source:
Comments: Tom Chester
Last update: 28 December 2000.