California attorney general fails to stop county's purchase of 2 hospitals

A district  judge has denied an emergency motion by California Attorney General Xavier Becerra to halt the sale of two hospitals to Santa Clara County, according to local news website Patch.

The county was the only bidder for San Jose, Calif.-based O'Connor Hospital and St. Louise Regional Hospital in Gilroy, Calif., after their parent company, Verity Health Systems, went into bankruptcy in August. Mr. Becerra expressed concern that the county would not hold the hospitals to the same quality standards, and nurses opposed a union that offers lower wages.

But Joe Simitian, chairman of the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors, argued: "These two hospitals are essential to the continued health and well-being of folks in our region. Continued litigation by the attorney general is a distraction from the important work we have to do. It's time to stop arguing about who's right and start focusing on what's right. And that's taking care of the folks here in the county who need our help."

The ruling allows the $235 million sale to move forward in March.

"Two federal judges have now rejected the attorney general's arguments against the county as meritless attempts to exert authority he does not have over local governments," Santa Clara County Executive Jeffrey Smith said. "The county will ensure that O'Connor and St. Louise hospitals continue serving our communities with the enhanced services we will offer through the hospitals as part of the county's integrated health system."

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