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Activists March on St. Vincent Hospital

Members of a national group say the nonprofit medical center denies care to the uninsured.

June 28, 2004|Caitlin Liu | Times Staff Writer

More than 1,000 activists from around the country protested in front of St. Vincent Medical Center in Los Angeles on Sunday to chastise the hospital they believe denies service to the uninsured and to demand better treatment for low-income people in need of care.

Waving red flags and chanting, "We won't take it no more!" members of Assn. of Community Organizations for Reform Now, which organized the protest, marched several blocks from a bus stop to the hospital at Alvarado and 3rd streets and packed into its horseshoe-shaped driveway.

"How do they call themselves a charitable hospital when they turn their own community away?" Dee Dee Ferro, an ACORN member from Bay Point, Calif., shouted to the crowd. "I want to know, where is their charity?"

Nonprofit hospitals such as St. Vincent are required by law to provide services to the community, including free care. Protesters said the hospital has been known to tell prospective patients to go to other free clinics instead.

Trace Longo, a spokesman for St. Vincent, said he could not comment on the group's complaints because the hospital staff was still gathering information on what the protest was about.

The protest may have been an inconvenience to hospital staff and patients but did not interfere with medical care, he said. The hospital is part of Daughters of Charity Health System, a nationwide chain of medical centers.

The group's protest took place during its national convention, held over the weekend in Los Angeles, which drew more than 2,000 members

The nonprofit activist group, which aims to improve low-income communities' access to health care, housing and loans, says it has more than 150,000 members in 65 cities, including about 8,000 members in Los Angeles.

Times staff writer Megan Garvey contributed to this report.

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