The contentious fight over the fate of six Daughters of Charity hospitals, including two in Los Angeles County, has been extended by another two weeks. The deadline by which Attorney General Kamala Harris must review and approve the sale of Daughters’ medical centers to Prime Healthcare Services has been pushed to Feb. 20.
The extension, requested by the California Department of Justice, “will allow our office to engage in a thorough review,” Harris’s press secretary wrote in an email. “These extension requests are routine.”
Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West has fiercely opposed the deal, citing concerns about the 7,600 jobs and more than 16,000 pensions at stake. Meanwhile, the beleaguered Daughters of Charity Health System has cast Ontario-based Prime as the savior of both jobs and retirement funds.
Prime fired the most recent shot in a statement pointing to an emotional video of two SEIU-UHW members and Daughters employees supporting the deal and criticizing their union.
Union spokesman Steve Trossman said the SEIU-UHW members who support the deal represent a small fraction of the roughly 2,500 members working for the hospitals. Most, he said, are against it.
“People have been completely overwhelmed in last couple months with the idea that if Prime is rejected the hospitals will close and they’ll lose their jobs,” said Trossman, reiterating the union’s position that there are alternative buyers. He also welcomed the attorney general’s extension, saying it would give Harris more time to review the deal’s merits.
The struggling the hospitals for sale include St. Vincent Medical Center in downtown Los Angeles and St. Francis in Lynwood, both of which treat underserved populations. Daughters, a Catholic non-profit, is hemorrhaging $10 million a month and must offload the medical centers soon or face bankruptcy.
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