Hospital may be sold to non-profit

DOWNEY - Downey Regional Medical Center, which filed for bankruptcy last September, is currently in exclusive negotiations with the private, non-profit medical group Daughters of Charity Health System regarding a potential acquisition of the 199-bed hospital.The Daughters of Charity Health System, whose hospitals include St. Francis Medical Center in Lynwood, is a regional health care organization based in Los Altos Hills with hospitals in Northern and Southern California. In a released statement, Rob Fuller, executive vice president and chief operating officer for Downey Regional, said the boards of directors for both the Downey Regional Medical Center-Hospital, Inc. and the Downey Regional Medical Center, Inc. voted unanimously on Feb. 2 for management to execute a letter of intent for affiliation with Daughters of Charity. "The primary goals of the proposed transaction include ensuring an ongoing, vibrant hospital presence in Downey to serve the entire community regardless of financial status," said Fuller. "This potential acquisition will allow us to continue operating Downey Regional Medical Center on a charitable, not-for-profit basis." Although negotiations are in the early stages, Daughters of Charity Health System President and CEO Robert Issai praised the notion of another Daughters of Charity hospital in the Southeast Los Angeles County region. "We look forward to continuing discussions with Downey Regional Medical Center," said Issai. "Their tradition of providing compassionate care and service to the Downey community aligned with our Catholic health care mission of serving the sick and the poor." "While the details of our discussions are confidential, we are excited by the benefits this potential affiliation will provide to all residents of Downey and beyond," Issai said. Formed in 2002, the Daughters of Charity Health System is a by-product of the ministry of St. Vincent de Paul and St. Louise de Marillac who founded the Daughters of Charity in 1633 in Paris, France. The health care organization came to California more than 150 years ago, establishing Los Angeles' first hospital, St. Vincent Medical Center, in 1856. In addition to St. Francis in Lynwood and St. Vincent Medical Center in Los Angeles, the system also operates Seton Medical Center in Daly City, Seton Coastside in Moss Beach, O'Connor Hospital in San Jose and St. Louise Regional Hospital in Gilroy. Fuller is hopeful that Downey Regional Medical Center will soon join the health system in order to keep the doors of the 90-year-old hospital open. "Given the complexity of the transaction and the requirements of Chapter 11, the process may take several months," said Fuller. "Downey employees and medical staff are hopeful that we will become officially affiliated with Daughters of Charity Health System in late spring, as a strong member of this hospital group."

********** Published: February 19, 2010 - Volume 8 - Issue 44