No longer St. Lukes, Mission Bernal opens its doors


Sutter Health opened its newest California Pacific Medical Center hospital Saturday at the corner of Valencia and Cesar Chavez streets, replacing the adjacent, seismically-unfit CPMC St. Luke’s hospital.

City and hospital officials held a ribbon cutting Friday at the brand-new, state-of-art $538 million hospital now known as the CPMC Mission Bernal Campus, which boosts a maternity floor and an acute care facility for seniors.

Ching Wong/SFBay

The new Sutter Health CPMC Mission Bernal Campus Hospital is ready to open in San Francisco, Calif., on Friday, August 24, 2018.

The 215,000 square feet hospital features 88 medical/surgical beds, 10 intensive care beds, 22 delivery and postpartum rooms, and seven operating rooms.

Unlike other hospitals, rooms are spacious, private and have skyline views of The City overlooking the Mission and Bernal Heights.

Shannon Thomas, the site administrator of the new CPMC campus, said in her opening remarks that the occasion marked the end of St. Luke’s but a new beginning for the new hospital:

“It marks the beginning of a new story featuring a gorgeous facility filled with incredibly amazing caregivers ready to provide extraordinary care for patients and families for years to come.”

Mayor London Breed said many San Francisco natives get asked which hospital they were born at, and she hears many say they were born at St. Luke’s:

“It is exciting and of course … appropriate to make sure that the birthing centers here are some of the best in San Francisco.”

Ching Wong/SFBay

San Francisco Mayor London Breed, left, speaks during the celebration of the opening of the new Sutter Health CPMC Mission Bernal Campus Hospital in San Francisco, Calif., on Friday, August 24, 2018.

Breed and others who spoke, including Assemblyman David Chiu, D-San Francisco, knew how hard and long the process was to come to a consensus on building the new hospital with the community.

Breed said:

“There were times when this community and The City thought this would never happen especially with requirements with the state and what we needed to with hospitals all over The City.”

Ching Wong/SFBay

A separate bathroom attached to a private labor room is shown at the new CPMC hospital in San Francisco, Calif., on Friday, August 24, 2018.

SFBay toured the maternity ward, where the labor rooms and postpartum rooms are on the same floor. Labor rooms feature a large bathtub for women to feel more comfortable while in labor, said Dr. Anna Altshuler.

Altshutler said there are benefits to having the labor and postpartum room on the same floor:

“This adds convenience but also security for the babies. The whole floor has additional security to keep the babies safe which is an improvement than having two separate floors.”

The hospital also features new technology, like tracking when the last time a staff member sanitized their hands, said Jacqueline Wooters, who is the clinical nurse manager at elderly care unit.

Staff will have what’s called a “Vocera” device that allows staff to quickly contact one another. The device will also alarm staff members when elderly patients are trying to get out of bed.

The beds connect with the hospital’s call system, said Wooters:

“When the alarms go off, it will come to my Vocera badge.”

Alarms or the call light will automatically shut off as soon as she walks into the room with the Vocera.

Rooms for elderly for elderly patients are also spacious and provide a large shower area for patients who are unable to stand, or are required to sit on a chair.

Jerold Chinn/SFBay

Artwork depicting the San Francisco Conservatory of Flowers is made up of thousands of faces of CPMC staff members is shown during a tour of the new CPMC Bernal Mission Campus in San Francisco, Calif., on Friday, August 24, 2018.

Inside the hospital’s cafeteria is a painting of the Conservatory of Flowers that uses photos of each hospital staff member to comprise the art installation.

CPMC CEO Dr. Warren Browner said the artwork represents thousands of staff members and board members:

“That’s what a hospital is. Yes, it’s a building but it’s also the people who deliver the care here.”

Jerold Chinn/SFBay

Thousands of CPMC staff members are used to create artwork depicting the San Francisco Conservatory of Flowers is shown during a tour of the new CPMC Mission Bernal Campus in San Francisco, Calif., on Friday, August 24, 2018.

The last newborn at St. Luke’s hospital, 8-pound, 2-ounce Francis Peterson, was wheeled into the the new hospital as Peterson and his mother became the the first new patients at the new hospital.

Sutter Health is also working to complete a second new hospital, its $2 billion Van Ness campus at Van Ness and Geary.

Jerold Chinn
Jerold Chinn is the San Francisco Bureau Chief of SFBay. A San Francisco native, he has spent a decade covering transportation in San Francisco. Send tips to or at Twitter @Jerold_Chinn.

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