Community Group Asks Attorney General to Keep Daniel Freeman Hospital Open During Tenet Investigation
A group of community and labor organizations has asked Attorney General Bill Lockyer (D) to bar Tenet Healthcare Corp. from closing Daniel Freeman Marina Hospital in Marina del Ray while the attorney general's office investigates whether Tenet violated commitments it made when it purchased the hospital, the Los Angeles Times reports (Pacio, Los Angeles Times, 6/28). Tenet announced earlier this month that it would close the hospital in August. Tenet acquired the facility last December as part of the $55 million purchase of Daniel Freeman Hospitals, the last not-for-profit facilities in Marina del Rey and Inglewood. Lockyer approved the sale of the hospitals after Tenet agreed to 21 conditions to ensure that the hospitals would provide services offered by most not-for-profit facilities. The agreement allows Tenet to close Daniel Freeman Marina but requires the hospital system to offer patients transportation to other facilities until June 2005 to ensure that patients have continued access to health services (California Healthline, 6/3). Tenet also agreed to maintain a nearby urgent care facility and to establish an outreach program to inform residents of their options after the hospital closes.
Community and labor groups say that under the agreement, Tenet should have by now established a local governing board to oversee continued care of patients. Tenet officials say that although they will have urgent care and transportation services in place before the hospital closes in August, the company is "under no obligation" to provide these services before the closure. Harris Koenig, CEO of Daniel Freeman Marina, said that the urgent care and transportation services "will be provided closer to the time of the hospital's closure." He added that the hospital will launch a public awareness campaign this week informing residents about nearby medical facilities and how to access them. The closure of Daniel Freeman Marina marks the second time Tenet has closed a hospital in Los Angeles County this year, but the company says it has no plans to close Daniel Freeman Inglewood Hospital (Los Angeles Times, 6/28).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.