SANTA CLARA: Officials Question Sale Of Alexian To Columbia
Santa Clara County supervisors are worried that for-profit Columbia/HCA Healthcare Corp.'s takeover of the charitable Alexian Brothers Hospital could threaten care for the poor in East San Jose, theSan Jose Mercury News reports. Yesterday, the supervisors "passed a motion urging the state attorney general's office to oversee acquisition of the hospital by Columbia" and to "ensure that East San Jose's only hospital remains accountable to local residents." Blanca Alvarado, chair of the board of supervisors, said, "I am deeply concerned (about) the effect that this transition will have on the availability of health services to the poor and others." She also said she believes the deal is "inconsistent with the spirit of the donation of land" to Alexian Brothers to build the hospital years ago. But Columbia's William Gilbert said, "It is not our intention to diminish community service. We stand ready to comply with any and all regulations." And Brother Thomas Keusenkothen, president of Alexian, wrote in a letter that "the Alexian Brothers have received specific assurances that ... Columbia/HCA will continue valued community services, including charity care practices, Medi-Cal participation and pastoral care programs."
Back To The Bartering System?
Columbia is acquiring the East San Jose facility in a hospital swap negotiated with Alexian Brothers Health System. In exchange for Alexian's 192-bed facility and an "undisclosed amount of cash," Columbia will give Alexian two of its Chicago-area hospitals. The Mercury News reports that if state and federal regulators approve the swap, it should close by Oct. 31. With the acquisition of Alexian's San Jose hospital, Columbia will become "the valley's largest hospital operator, controlling three of the city's six hospitals and an estimated 53% of the city's 1,719 hospital beds" (Krieger, 9/16). Click Alexian for past CHL coverage of the transaction.