Physician blasts billionaire owner of California safety-net hospital

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A physician with Daly City, Calif.-based Seton Medical Center, which is at risk of closing, is speaking out against the billionaire owner who promised to revive the facility, according to the San Francisco Chronicle

The safety-net hospital is owned by Verity Health System, which filed for bankruptcy in 2018. Patrick Soon-Shiong, MD, a surgeon, billionaire and inventor of a cancer drug, owns Verity.

Last year, Strategic Global Management made a $610 million bid to buy four of Verity's six hospitals, including Seton, but the deal fell apart in late December.

Since the deal fell apart, the community has been working to ensure 127-year-old Seton Medical Center remains open.

During a town hall meeting about the hospital's future, Seton Medical physician Mark Tsuchiyose, MD, blasted Dr. Shoon-Shiong for his absence and broken promises to invest in the facility. 

Dr. Tsuchiyose said that Dr. Shoon-Shiong sat at a community meeting a few years ago and vowed to pour "millions and millions of dollars" into Seton. 

"In his time, how much money has he actually put into Seton?" Dr. Tsuchiyose asked the audience. Several people replied "zero," according to the report. 

"He actually took things away," Dr. Tsuchiyose said, according to the publication.

Seton soon may be acquired by Apollo Medical Holdings and AHMC Healthcare, a Southern California healthcare management company. But since the hospital is seated on valuable property, many are concerned that the land could be sold for development.

"The purpose of this town hall meeting was to make sure that Verity hears loud and clear that the community will not tolerate a land grab," San Mateo County Supervisor David Canepa, whose district includes Seton Medical Center, told the Chronicle. "And in fact, the community wants the hospital to stay. We want the emergency room to remain open."

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