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Hospital Closure Blocked

Los Angeles

Health: The state tells Daniel Freeman Marina facility's owner to honor its commitments first.

July 10, 2002|NERISSA PACIO | TIMES STAFF WRITER

The state attorney general's office has told the owner of Daniel Freeman Marina Hospital that neither the hospital nor its emergency room can be closed until the firm honors certain commitments made when it bought the facility in December. Atty. Gen. Bill Lockyer gave Tenet Healthcare Corp. until Monday to respond to his office's findings, spokeswoman Sandra Michioku said.

About 100 community organizers, residents of Marina del Rey and Venice, and a few of the Marina hospital's doctors rallied on the front lawn of the facility Monday to celebrate the temporary reprieve. The ER was slated to close July 22, followed by the rest of the hospital in August.

"The refusal of Tenet to consult our community has given the hospital a second life," said Maura Kealey, a spokeswoman for Service Employees International Union, which is part of a community coalition seeking to save the 166-bed hospital.

Michioku said Tenet has not provided documents proving that it solicited public input or consulted with community-based health organizations, local elected officials or hospital employees before deciding to close the hospital. Tenet has also failed to show that the publicity campaign informs residents of other nearby urgent-care or ambulatory-care facilities that serve Medi-Cal and Medicare recipients and provide charity care, Michioku said.

Tenet spokesman David Langness said the company believes that it has complied with the attorney general's conditions.

"We have a long list of people we consulted in the community," Langness said. "But we will try to resolve any barriers that still exist."

In December, Tenet bought two Daniel Freeman hospitals for $55 million from the St. Louis-based Catholic hospital chain Carondolet Health System. The hospitals were losing $23 million a year and the Marina hospital treated only 40 acute-care patients a day, hospital officials had said.

The 358-bed Daniel Freeman hospital in Inglewood will remain open. The Marina hospital's psychiatric and chemical dependency unit has already closed. The hospital will be the second one shut by Tenet in the county this year.

"The Daniel Freeman Marina Hospital closing coupled with the public health-care crisis facing Los Angeles County will exacerbate the access to quality and timely health-care services for Los Angeles residents," said Assemblyman George Nakano (D-Torrance), whose district includes Marina del Rey, Playa del Rey and Venice.

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