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Monday, May 29, 2023

Health Plan Nurses Expansion With Doctor Deal

EDITOR’S NOTE: This story has been changed from the print version to correct the estimated cost of the planned new Barlow Respiratory Hospital building in the second column item.

L.A. Care Health Plan has added Los Angeles County’s largest operator of physician practices to its plan on the California health exchange.

HealthCare Partners in Torrance last week announced an agreement with L.A. Care that brings more than 2,100 doctors to L.A. Care’s plan under Covered California, the state’s Affordable Care Act network. The plan is a division of DaVita HealthCare Partners Inc. in Denver.

Some providers in the medical group, which was acquired by DaVita Inc. in 2012, already are providing care to L.A. Care’s MediCal members around the county.

Just 13,000 of L.A. Care’s more than 1.35 million members are in the health exchange plan, but Howard Kahn, chief executive of the L.A. non-profit, said the segment has been growing faster in recent weeks.

L.A. Care is among several regional health plans participating in the exchange, which also includes larger commercial plans such as Kaiser Permanente, Health Net and Anthem Blue Cross. Kahn said participating in Covered California plays to his company’s strengths as a longtime Medicaid provider, but it does present new challenges as the demographics of its membership base broadens. He expects to enroll higher-income Angelenos who don’t get coverage from their employer or for other reasons choose to get their insurance from the state’s exchange.

“This is definitely a new move for us,” Kahn said.

The pact between L.A. Care and DaVita comes at a time of leadership transition for both companies. Dr. Robert Margolis, HealthCare Partners founding chief executive, announced during DaVita’s investor conference call last week that he would be retiring as chief executive March 1, but he will remain as a strategic adviser and chairman of the parent company.

Kahn announced Feb. 7 that he will be leaving L.A. Care in January.

“With Covered California under way, this is a great transition point for me try something different in the not-for-profit area,” said Kahn, who has been with the company for 13 years.

Barlow Celebrates

This week’s Barlow Express Gala at Union Station might be billed as a fundraiser for tiny Barlow Respiratory Hospital, but Chief Executive Margaret Crane noted that it will take more than community fundraisers to gather estimated $105 million needed to build a new earthquake-resistant facility. The event is also a way of letting people know the hospital exists.

“This is our first gala in a long time, and it’s more of a coming-out party for us,” said Crane, who has lead the 49-bed specialty facility for 20 years. “If we raise money that’s great, but we really want to reacquaint Los Angeles with the work we do here.”

Barlow was founded 112 years ago as a tuberculosis sanitarium. Because it’s in the woods next to Dodger Stadium, it’s not well known outside the medical community.

Neighbors, however, know about the hospital: They are concerned about its efforts to pay for the upgrade by selling off the bulk of its 25-acre property to developers.

The new hospital will only expand the number of beds to 56, which Crane said is because Barlow also contracts with Valley Presbyterian Hospital in Van Nuys and Presbyterian Intercommunity Hospital in Whittier to operate satellite campuses using excess bed capacity at those facilities.

Barlow last month filed a grading permit application with the city, but Crane said the move was more a formality and no construction work is expected anytime soon. The hospital is still working on its environmental impact statement for development, which she said likely won’t be ready for another year. Barlow has a deal with one developer to build small-lot, single-family homes on part of the land, and is in negotiations with another developer that is considering both single-family homes and senior housing on the eastern portion of the property.

The art deco-themed gala Saturday will be emceed by actress Beverly Sassoon with entertainment by Deana Martin (daughter of the late Dean Martin) and her quintet. Information is available at www.barlow200.org.

News & Notes

Marina del Rey Hospital, a 145-bed Westside acute care surgical hospital, has named Sean Fowler chief executive, succeeding Fred Hunter. Fowler, who most recently was chief executive of Barstow Community Hospital in Barstow, started his new job last week. … Not-for-profit Scan Health Plan has renewed the lease on its corporate headquarter at 3800 Kilroy Airport Way in Long Beach and is expanding next door to the 3880 building for a total of 202,804 square feet of office space. Scan serves more than 160,000 Medicare Advantage members in California and Arizona, and was represented by Jones Lang LaSalle Inc. in the lease deal.

Staff reporter Deborah Crowe can be reached dcrowe@labusinessjournal.com or at (323) 549-5225, ext. 232.

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