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Billionaire Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong seeks to reopen Los Angeles hospital as 'central command' for COVID-19

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A foundation run by Patrick Soon-Shiong, MD, and his wife is trying to acquire a shuttered Los Angeles hospital and reopen it as a COVID-19 care and research center, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The foundation created by Dr. Soon Shiong, the billionaire owner of the Los Angeles Times and inventor of cancer drug, Abraxane, placed a $135 million bid to acquire St. Vincent Medical Center in Los Angeles from El Segundo, Calif.-based Verity Health. Verity filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2018 and closed 366-bed St. Vincent Medical Center in January. 

On March 31, a bankruptcy judge approved the foundation as the lead bidder to acquire the shuttered hospital. Other bidders can challenge the foundation's offer until April 3, according to WSJ. A final hearing on the sale is slated for next week.

If the foundation acquires the hospital, the goal is to turn the facility into a "central command" center for COVID-19, Dr. Soon-Shiong told the Los Angeles Times. The hospital would help relieve pressure on other medical centers in the area facing a surge of patients and serve as a research facility for physicians and experts on COVID-19, according to the report.

The proposed deal comes after California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced March 21 that the state will use $30 million in emergency funding to lease St. Vincent Medical Center and Seton Medical Center in Daly City, Calif., which is also owned by Verity. Dr. Soon-Shiong's foundation said it would take over the state's lease obligations at St. Vincent if the deal is approved, according to WSJ.

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