Will the AG Let For-Profit Prime Takeover the Daughters of Charity Health System?

Last week, Health Access joined hundreds of allies, community organizations, elected officials and labor to oppose the sale of 6 hospitals operated by the non-profit Daughters of Charity Health System to the for-profit Prime Healthcare, Inc. California law requires the Attorney General’s (AG) review and consent for any sale or transfer of a health care facility owned or operated by a nonprofit corporation whose assets are held in public trust. The AG held public meetings at each hospital every day this week and has until early-February to either approve or deny the proposed sale. The AG may also approve the sale with additional conditions (for details see the AG’s web page for nonprofit hospital transactions). These meetings have garnered a lot of attention from print, television, and radio media.

Health Access is opposed to this deal because Prime Healthcare’s commitment to keeping the hospitals open and maintaining hospital services is conditional and limited. In addition, these hospitals have had nonprofit charitable status, and we have questions about whether the valuation of their assets is accurate, particularly in light of changes brought on by the Affordable Care Act. Health Access is also concerned about assertions about Prime and its troubling history. A copy of our opposition letter, which describes all the concerns raised by Health Access, is available here.

Nancy Gomez, our Southern California Program Director testified in opposition to the sale at Monday’s meeting at St. Francis Hospital in Lynwood, CA. The meeting began with a 10-minute presentation from Dr. Prem Reddy, owner of Prime Healthcare, Inc. detailing the terms of the sale and the merits of his company. The leadership of the Daughters of Charity echoed his sentiments. After that, a steady stream of opposition and supporters took to the podium.

Health Access offered testimony summarizing our opposition to the sale to a four-member panel of the Attorney General’s Office. The hearing started at 10:00 AM and continued past 5:30 PM. There were 250 individuals slated to offer testimony in addition to individuals who signed up to speak, and each was limited to a two minute time limit. Prior to the meeting, a rally and press conference was held. Over 400 people were in attendance at the rally.

Tam Ma, Health Access’ new Policy Counsel, testified in opposition at the public meetings held at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Los Angeles on Tuesday and O’Connor Hospital in San Jose on Wednesday. These meetings followed a similar format to Monday’s meeting, with representatives from Prime and Daughters of Charity making statements before community members weighed-in. Tam was quoted in in the San Jose Mercury News.

The following are some of the many news stories that have been written about the AG’s hearings and the proposed sale of these non-profit hospitals.