Newport Beach City Council this week unanimously approved a 10-year extension on the development agreement for Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian.
As part of the agreement, Hoag made a commitment of $3 million to provide benefits to the community through funding to address homelessness and continued funding of its Community Benefit Program at the Melinda Hoag Smith Center for Healthy Living.
It addresses a problem that is endemic in Orange County, Mayor Diane Dixon said. This is a clever and innovative solution. It’s a good decision and the start of a great partnership to address the issue, she added.
“It’s the beginning of a new relationship with Hoag,” she said, and “we’re very proud to participate with you.”
The $3 million will be paid out in equal installments of $300,000 annually over the next decade, paid directly to one or more nonprofit community partners determined by the city upon recommendation of the newly-formed Homeless Task Force.
Melinda Hoag Smith Center for Healthy Living houses a variety of nonprofit partner agencies and programs that address issues affecting the health of the community.
Councilman Kevin Muldoon made the motion to approve the contract, adding that Hoag would have the option for “co-naming” rights. But no politician can put their name on it, he added.
Muldoon said he wasn’t initially a fan of the development proposal and was considering voting against the item, since it was more of a standard agreement for developers and not nonprofits, but he since learned that Hoag wants to do this for the community, he said. On top of that, Hoag is a great hospital and wonderful staff, he added.
“Hoag is a hero organization,” Muldoon said, “to want to pay money for Newport Beach to have the pleasure of having so many dedicated servants in our city limits is really unbelievable.”
Hoag was constructed in 1952 as a 75-bed, 50,000 square-foot facility. The complex has undergone several major construction phases that have expanded and remodeled the facilities.
The 38-acre site is bound by Hospital Road, West Coast Highway, Newport Boulevard, and Superior Avenue.
Hoag initially requested a 25-year extension of the development agreement, but through negotiations have revised their request to a 10-year extension.
The agreement will continue to vest Hoag’s development rights of the remaining 455,000 square feet for office and medical use, consistent with the city’s General Plan, Hoag Hospital PC text, and all mitigation measures.
They are a willing and responsible neighbor, Senior Vice President at Hoag Hospital Sanford Smith said.
“We are a community hospital,” Smith emphasized.
The services will grow and change over the years, he added. They see it transforming rapidly, which will continue over the next decade, he pointed out. The agreement allows them to be “nimble” and respond to how the healthcare industry evolves, Smith noted.
“These mental health, medical and social service providers directly support at-risk and disadvantaged populations in the Newport-Mesa area to combat homelessness and reduce costs to the emergency room,” the city staff report explains.
Councilman Jeff Herdman noted the comments and concerns community members have raised about homelessness in Newport Beach, an increasingly hot topic over the last few years.
“To see some of these funds earmarked for that is just outstanding,” Herdman said
Residents are concerned about the issue, and rightly so, Muldoon added.
The city is currently in the position, both locally and regionally and from federal agencies, to try and come up with a solution, Muldoon explained.
This is also in the hospital’s best interest, Councilwoman Joy Brenner pointed out. They have an obligation to deal with the mentally ill and the homeless, she added.
“They’re being proactive and finding ways to deal with that in a manner that benefits us, but it also benefits the hospital,” Brenner said. “It really is a collaboration between our community and Hoag and it’s one of the best possible solutions on how you deal with these measures that really seem insurmountable if we didn’t all work together.”