[Feb. 17, 2015] SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Healthcare workers today reiterated their strong opposition to the sale of six safety-net hospitals to Prime Healthcare and urged California Attorney General Kamala Harris to block the sale of Daughters of Charity Health System, saying the greatest chance of closure and reduced services will only occur if Prime Healthcare purchases the struggling hospital system.
They dismissed efforts by the California Nurses Association (CNA) to scare the public by repeating the false claims of Daughters’ executives that the hospitals will close if Prime is not approved. A recent article in the San Jose Mercury News quoted various health and policy experts saying that the Daughters facilities will not close if Prime is rejected. Alternative buyers are lined up two deep to step in at all Daughters facilities.
“The truth is, the biggest threat to these hospitals closing is if Prime is approved as the buyer,” said Dave Regan, president of SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West (SEIU-UHW) “Prime’s bid is the only one that contemplates putting the hospitals into bankruptcy, and Prime won’t commit to keeping the hospitals open for 10 years. We urge the Attorney General to reject this sale because Prime cannot be trusted to live up to any conditions she places on the transaction.”
Healthcare workers support Blue Wolf Capital’s bid to acquire the hospital system because of its pledge to protect patient care, refurbish aging facilities and preserve jobs and worker pensions. As part of its bid, Blue Wolf promised $300 million to capital improvements – twice as much as Prime Healthcare’s bid – and is willing to buy the hospitals even if Daughters of Charity goes forward with its threat to put them into bankruptcy. A recognized physician and hospital CEO who has experience in hospital takeovers would lead Blue Wolf’s management team.
In addition to Blue Wolf, there are entities interested in buying the individual hospitals. In the case of St. Francis Medical Center in Lynwood and St. Vincent Medical Center in Los Angeles, two major non-profit, healthcare providers are ready immediately to buy and manage them. They more closely align with the current owner’s mission than Prime and are solidly positioned to strengthen the hospitals. The County of Santa Clara has agreed to purchase O’Connor Hospital in San Jose and Saint Louise in Gilroy, and a respected healthcare company is lined up to buy the Seton medical centers in Daly City and Moss Beach.
More than 2,600 employees in the Daughters of Charity Health System are members of SEIU-UHW.