Protesters demand answers on fate of Northern California safety-net hospital

Kelly Gooch - Print  | 

Nurses, staff and labor unions protested Feb. 12 at Daly City, Calif.-based Seton Medical Center, which faces possible closure, to urge the hospital's owner be more transparent about the anticipated sale of the hospital through bankruptcy court, reports San Francisco Business Times.

El Segundo, Calif.-based Verity Health, which filed for bankruptcy in August 2018, owns Seton and has ties to billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong, MD.

In January 2019, Strategic Global Management made a $610 million bid to buy four of Verity's six hospitals, including Seton. However, the deal for Corona, Calif.-based KPC Group to acquire four hospitals from Verity fell through in December.

Now, healthcare workers and others are fighting against a possible closure of the 127-year-old Seton, which has 357 beds and about 1,500 workers. About 150 people concerned about the hospital's possible closure — including Daly City officials and representatives of the California Nurses Association and the National Union of Healthcare Workers — participated in the Feb. 12 rally, according to the Business Times.

"Seton Medical Center is critical in north San Mateo County," San Mateo County Supervisor David Canepa, who represents Daly City, said in a statement to the publication. "The closure of the hospital would devastate patients and would devastate those who work there. Verity needs to find a buyer as soon as possible."

Earlier this year, Verity closed St. Vincent Medical Center, a 366-bed hospital in Los Angeles, after the KPC Group deal fell through. And many at Seton are worried the same thing will happen there, a representative at the California Nurses Association told the Business Times.

Apollo Medical Holdings and AHMC Healthcare, a Southern California healthcare management company, are reportedly possible buyers for Seton. But many at Seton are worried given that Verity's debt plan, submitted in bankruptcy court in September, said a closure is "likely" because of "ongoing operating losses, which may result in them being sold as real estate for redevelopment."


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