More than a dozen hospitals in the state run the highest risk of collapse during a severe earthquake, according to the investigative reporting group California Watch. And further, state authorities and hopital officials have done little to alert the public to these hazards. Nor have they determined the quake risk for many of the of the 700 hospital buildings identified in the 1990s as being potentially dangerous.
Under law the state can shut down hospitals that don't address serious seismic issue by a certain deadline. But knowing which face the biggest risks is problematic. Only 90 structures have been evaluated for "collapse risk" (i.e., the probability of collapse -- based on the building's condition, distance from a fault and likely ground motion -- during the biggest potential quake for that region).
The facility on the list with the greatest risk is Kindred Hospital in Ontario (31.75 percent), followed behind by Citrus Valley Medical Center in West Covina (30.36 percent). Closest to Sacramento is Rideout Memorial Hospital in Marysville. Its West Wing and Nouth Wing buildings have modest risk indices of 2.56 and 1.81 percent, respectively.