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February 23, 2015

Calif. Official Approves Hospital Deal but Sets Conditions

California Attorney General Kamala Harris gave her imprimatur Friday to for-profit medical network Prime Healthcare’s takeover of a struggling Catholic hospital chain but set strict terms for the merger, reports the Los Angeles Times. The conditions include requirements that Prime keep all six Daughters of Charity hospitals open for at least 10 years and match their level of free and discounted care for indigent patients.

Ontario, Calif.-based Prime said it would take several days to analyze Ms. Harris’ stipulations before deciding whether to proceed with its planned purchase of Daughters of Charity’s facilities in Los Angeles County and the San Francisco Bay Area. Officials say the nonprofit Daughters of Charity system is losing $10-million a month and would face bankruptcy if the deal does not go through.

Service Employees International Union, which represents thousands of California health-care workers, has opposed the sale, alleging Prime slashes services and raises prices when it takes over nonprofit hospitals. Dave Regan, a union leader, applauded Ms. Harris’ ruling, saying her conditions “will go a long, long way to make sure Prime does not run these institutions the way they run their other institutions.”