[Oct. 30, 2014]LOS ANGELES – Statewide opposition to the pending sale of six community hospitals in California to a company under federal investigation is growing, as 10 more California elected officials, seven community organizations and three labor unions recently urged California Attorney General Kamala Harris to block the sale to Prime Healthcare.
U.S. Reps. Mike Honda (D-San Jose) and Janice Hahn (D-San Pedro) join Assemblymembers John Perez (D-Los Angeles), Roger Hernandez (D-West Covina), Mark Stone (D-Scotts Valley), Kevin Mullin (D-South San Francisco), Philip Ting (D-San Francisco), Mike Gatto (D-Los Angeles), Bill Quirk (D-Hayward) and Bob Wieckowski (D-Fremont) in opposing the sale of Daughters of Charity Health System. Another 27 legislators had previously gone on record against the sale.
Los Angeles-based community organizations that recently announced their opposition to the sale are: St. John’s Well Child & Family Center; Community Coalition; Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment; Strategic Concepts in Organizing & Policy Education; InnerCity Struggle; Brotherhood Crusade; and Our SALUD. Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas earlier weighed-in against the sale.
Others opposed to the sale include Santa Clara County Executive Jeff Smith, the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, the United Food Commercial Workers’ Western States Council, the Committee of Interns and Residents and the San Jose Mercury News.
“We cannot express strongly enough how critical the Daughters facilities’ are to the communities and patients they serve, nor how harmful it would be to replace them with Prime Healthcare’s profit-at-any-cost approach and its reckless, possibly law-breaking, methods,” wrote Jim Mangia, CEO of St. John’s Well Child & Family Center, in an Oct. 23 letter to California Attorney General Kamala Harris. “Low-income patients would suffer. Communities would suffer. And it would be particularly unconscionable given the big steps we have taken to bring healthcare to the uninsured over the past year under the Affordable Care Act.”
Daughters of Charity announced Oct. 10 that it chose Prime Healthcare as the lead bidder for the safety-net hospital system and would negotiate with Prime exclusively. The deal must be approved by Attorney General Harris, and healthcare workers are airing TV ads in Sacramento and San Francisco urging her to reject the sale.
Concern lies with Prime Healthcare’s history of dismal record and business practices. Prime admitted that it is under federal investigation for allegedly overbilling the federal government. Prime paid a $275,000 fine after deliberately violating a patient’s privacy by sharing her records with journalists and 800 employees. A group of doctors in San Bernardino County sued Prime Healthcare last year when the company denied them access to their own patients. In addition, the company’s Desert Valley Hospital was sanctioned by the California Department of Public Health for improper care resulting in a patient’s death. And Prime’s Garden Grove hospital was cited by the State of California after a patient was administered a lethal dose of a powerful sedative.
Daughters of Charity owns Seton Medical Center, Daly City; Seton Coastside, Moss Beach; O’Connor Hospital, San Jose; Saint Louise Regional Hospital, Gilroy; St. Vincent Medical Center, Los Angeles; and St. Francis Medical Center, Lynwood.