Richmond Field Hospital, 1330 Cutting Boulevard, Richmond, Contra Costa County, CA
Significance: The Richmond Field Hospital for the Kaiser Shipyards was financed by the United States Maritime Commission, and opened on August 10, 1942. Sponsored by Henry J. Kaiser's Permanente Foundation, it was run by Medical Director Sidney R. Garfield, M.D. The Field Hospital served as the mid-level component of a three-tier medical care system that also included six well-equipped First Aid Stations at the individual shipyards, and the main Permanente Hospital in Oakland, where the most critical cases were treated. Together, these facilities served the employees of the Kaiser shipyards who had signed up for the Permanente Health Plan (commonly referred to as the "Kaiser Plan"), one of the country's first voluntary pre-paid medical plans, and a direct precursor to the Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs) defined by the federal HMO Act of 1973. By August 1944, 92.2 percent of all Richmond shipyard employees had joined the plan, the first voluntary group plan in the country to feature group medical practice, prepayment, and substantial medical facilities on such a large scale. After the war ended, the Health Plan was expanded to include workers' families. By 1990, Kaiser Permanente was still the country's largest nonprofit HMO.
In part due to wartime materials rationing, the Field Hospital is a single-story wood frame structure designed in a simple modernist mode. Originally intended for use primarily as an emergency facility, the Field Hospital opened with only ten beds. Later additions increased its capacity to 160 beds by 1944. The Field Hospital operated as a Kaiser Permanente hospital until closing in 1995. Its current owners, the Islamic Community of Northern California, plan to convert the building into a mosque and community center.
Unprocessed Field note material exists for this structure: N593
Survey number: HABS CA-2720
Building/structure dates: 1942 Initial Construction
Building/structure dates: 1943 Subsequent Work
Building/structure dates: 1944 Subsequent Work
Building/structure dates: 1945 Subsequent Work