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CALIFORNIA : SOUTHLAND FOCUS : Memorial Health Buys 2 O.C. Hospitals

September 03, 1999|Marc Ballon

Memorial Health Services of Long Beach has acquired two Orange County hospitals in a deal that could cost more than 500 workers their jobs. Nonprofit Memorial Health Services purchased 139-bed La Palma Intercommunity Hospital and 205-bed Martin Luther Hospital Anaheim from Catholic Healthcare West of San Francisco. Terms were not disclosed. Catholic had bought the two hospitals in December from Burbank-based Unihealth. Ernst & Young consultants has been hired by Memorial Health to evaluate operations at La Palma and make recommendations about its future use, including possibly shutting the hospital or turning it into a trauma rehabilitation or psychiatric facility. The La Palma hospital employs 560 people.

Martin Luther is little more than half a mile from Anaheim Memorial Medical Center, also owned by Memorial Health. Those two facilities will be merged, with functions such as patient billing, purchasing and information services consolidated over the next nine months, said Memorial Health Chief Executive Thomas Collins. Layoffs are expected, but Collins said it's too early to say how many. Martin Luther employs 598 people. It will be known as Anaheim Memorial Medical Center West Campus.

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