Verity Health System's bankruptcy sparks concern from union members

El-Segundo, Calif.-based Verity Health System's recent filing for bankruptcy and move to auction its hospitals have sparked concern from unionized healthcare workers about the future of Verity's Saint Louise Regional Hospital in Gilroy, Calif., the Gilroy Dispatch reports.

"When Verity bought the hospital it was contingent on them remaining open. Filing bankruptcy puts that in doubt. That concerns patients, workers and their families," Sean Wherley, senior communications specialist for Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West, which represents 2,000 workers at Verity Health hospitals, told the Dispatch.

Verity filed a motion Oct. 2 seeking bankruptcy court approval to auction off its hospitals in Santa Clara County, including Saint Louise and San Jose, Calif.-based O'Connor Hospital. Santa Clara County, which is leading the bidding process, has placed a $235 million "stalking horse bid" to acquire Saint Louise and O'Connor.

Verity Health said it seeks an "orderly auction process" where other potential buyers can bid against the county's offer. Verity seeks an auction in December.

"I think that would be great if it went to the county," Saint  Louise certified nurse assistant Deborah Schwoerer told the Dispatch if the county bought the hospital.

But she said she "would probably start crying" if the hospital closed.

Los Altos, Calif.-based Daughters of Charity Health System originally owned St. Louise and five other Verity hospitals, which were sold to New York City-based private equity firm BlueMountain Capital Management in 2015. In 2017, billionaire investor Patrick Soon-Shiong, MD, purchased Integrity Healthcare, the BlueMountain subsidiary that manages Verity.


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