Reymundo Espinoza, CEO
California Attorney General Kamala Harris has until February 20th to decide whether the Daughters of Charity Health System should besold to Prime Healthcare Services. State law requires the approval by the attorney general any time a nonprofit hospital is sold to a for-profit company. In October, the Daughters board recommended Prime, a for-profit health service provider, as its top candidate to buy the non-profit hospital chain.
The charity care and community benefit programs maintained by the Daughters of Charity Health System have filled a critical gap in health services in our community. This care has improved health outcomes and access to care for those living in poverty and without access to health insurance. This care has been provided through the hospitals the chain operates, including O’Connor Hospital in San Jose and Saint Louise Regional Hospital in Gilroy.
Through our membership in the Community Health Partnership (CHP) – a consortium of 10 non-profit community health centers in Santa Clara and San Mateo counties – we are working hard to ensure that any proposed change to the County’s current health system doesn’t negatively impact those we serve.
Specifically, we are recommending services to Medi-Cal recipients extend well beyond the currently proposed 10-year timeframe and that access to care, especially emergency room care, is equal to access given to private pay patients. We are also asking for an appointed body to be formed to oversee access to care by the poor, uninsured, and Medi-Cal populations and that Prime by held responsible for maintaining critical access.
With nearly one in three Californians receiving health care services financed by the state, it’s imperative that the sale guarantees the same levels of emergency and non-emergency care to our community’s most vulnerable residents. Our health care safety must remain strong and we must continue to invest in poor and low-income individuals and families who cannot participate in mainstream systems of care.