Calif. Lawmakers Urge Harris To Block Sale of Six Hospitals to Prime
On Thursday, a group of 18 Democratic California lawmakers sent a letter to the state attorney general urging her to block the sale of six safety-net hospitals to Prime Healthcare Services, the Victorville Daily Press reports (Johnson, Victorville Daily Press, 12/11).
The six hospitals -- which are run by not-for-profit Daughters of Charity Health System -- for sale are:
- O'Connor Hospital in San Jose;
- Saint Louise Regional Hospital in Gilroy;
- Seton Coastside Hospital in Moss Beach;
- Seton Medical Center in Daly City;
- St. Francis Medical Center in Los Angeles County; and
- St. Vincent Medical Center in Los Angeles County.
The sale is pending approval by State Attorney General Kamala Harris (D), who has until Feb. 11, 2015, to approve or void the deal (Gorn, California Healthline, 11/11).
As part of the acquisition, Prime said it would spend about $150 million to bolster the health system's facilities, protect about 7,600 jobs and assume more than $300 million in pension guarantees (Forstner, Gilroy Dispatch, 12/11).
However, the Service Employees International Union has been leading a charge against the sale, as public pressure to reject it has been increasing (California Healthline, 11/11).
Details of Letter
Led by Reps. Mike Honda (D-San Jose) and Zoe Lofgren (D-San Jose), the lawmakers cited Prime's "unfair business practices" as their main concern over the sale.
The letter stated that such practices "have resulted in civil and criminal investigations by government agencies for allegedly overbilling Medicare, as well as violations of patient confidentiality." The lawmakers added, "It is our belief that under Prime, patient care and health care worker rights will suffer at these hospitals" (Gilroy Dispatch, 12/11).
Prime spokesperson Edward Barrera said that the pending sale has received "overwhelming" support. He said, "If SEIU, and the politicians who it has misinformed, succeed in derailing this acquisition, it would be tragic for these hospitals, the employees who work there and the communities they serve."
Meanwhile, California Nurses Association Co-President Zenei Cortez said, "Those who oppose this sale without offering an alternative that would protect our patients and our communities are putting everyone at risk" (Victorville Daily Press, 12/11).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.