Elastar Community Hospital To Close
U.S Bankruptcy Court Judge John Ryan on Friday ordered Elastar Community Hospital in East Los Angeles to close, a decision that is "expected to be another blow" to Los Angeles County's emergency care system, the Los Angeles Times reports (Hymon/Labossiere, Los Angeles Times, 8/14). Elastar last week closed its emergency department. The hospital treated about 13,000 patients in its ED each year, according to the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development Department. Those patients likely will seek treatment at White Memorial Medical Center in Boyle Heights or East Los Angeles Doctors Hospital (California Healthline, 8/13). Elastar is the third hospital with an ED in Los Angeles County to close this year, according to the Times.
Court appointed trustee Brad Krasnoff said the hospital's debt totaled more than $10 million, adding that the hospital could not afford to pay its approximately 400 employees.
Ryan said, "I wish there was another outcome, but I just don't see it." He said that Elastar's debt was too high to be addressed otherwise.
"It's not the travel time to the next hospital that is going to be difficult, it's going to be the waiting time to get the patient off the gurney," Carol Meyer, director of the Los Angeles County Emergency Medical Services Agency, said.
Jim Lott, executive vice president of the Hospital Association of Southern California, said, "We cannot stand any more closures in an emergency capacity in Los Angeles -- this system is on the brink of absolute chaos." He added, "Eventually people are going to start to die. That's basically what it amounts to."
Michael Weiss, attorney for Krasnoff, said an appraiser soon will begin examining the hospital's equipment. Real estate appraisals also will be conducted, he said, adding that offers to buy the hospital would be considered.
Dr. Graciela Colle-Almaguer said that she was a member of a group of doctors who last week offered to purchase the hospital for $11 million. She said the offer was rejected.
However, Krasnoff said, "We have no offers" (Los Angeles Times, 8/14).