Palomar Health may close its downtown Escondido hospital, the board announced.
The 65-year-old hospital building between Grand Avenue and Valley Parkway is losing about $20 million per year and may need to close within the next few months.
The Palomar Health Downtown Campus houses labor and delivery, rehabilitation and behavioral health departments, and a standby emergency room.
If the Palomar board decides to close the structure at a meeting scheduled for June 24, those departments would be moved to Palomar Medical Center three miles away on Citracado Parkway and Pomerado Hospital in Poway.
Bobette Brown, a spokeswoman for Palomar, said there will be layoffs involved in the process of moving services, though no information was available on how many jobs would be eliminated. She said efforts will be made to preserve as many jobs as possible.
Since it opened in 1950, the hospital has been an integral part of downtown Escondido, and there was concern when Palomar announced it would build its new hospital in a business park on the west side of town.
However, hospital officials mitigated concern with a promise to maintain its downtown presence in addition to the new hospital.
It was not clear what would be done with the downtown property if it is closed. In a list of frequently asked questions posted on the hospital’s website, Palomar says it “will be conducting a thorough review to determine the highest and best use of the downtown site.”