Seton workers voice concerns about sale of hospitals

August 29th, 2019

Caregivers at Seton Medical Center and Seton Coastside spoke at public forums this week calling on Attorney General Xavier Becerra to require that the proposed purchaser of both San Mateo County facilities maintain medical services and keep Seton Medical Center operating as an acute care hospital.

Seton Medical Center and Seton Coastside are the nearest trauma centers providing emergency care for hundreds of thousands of Bay Area residents. The facilities provide critical cardiac care, cancer care and skilled nursing services. Seton Medical Center is the nearest Primary Stroke Center for much of San Mateo County.

Yet, Kali P. Chaudhuri, the owner of the company that is seeking to purchase the facilities has indicated that he is not committed to operating Seton Medical Center as an acute care hospital. This would force countless patients in Northern San Mateo County and San Francisco to travel farther for critical care.

“Our hospitals provide vital emergency care,” said Rosalie Zamora, an office coordinator in Seton’s Respiratory Department. “We need Attorney General Becerra to make sure that the new owner’s top priority is to protect our patients and not boost his profit margin.”

The hospitals were purchased by Verity Health from the Daughters of Charity in 2015. After Verity Health declared bankruptcy last year, a subsidiary of Chaudhuri’s KPC Group agreed to buy the two hospitals, along with two Verity facilities in Southern California for $610 million. Chaudhuri’s seven hospitals in California receive an average ranking of only 1.7 out of a maximum five stars on the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ Hospital Compare rating system.

Caregivers are calling on Attorney General Becerra to require Chaudhuri to meet the same conditions required of Verity Health including preserving emergency, cardiac and other services for at least 10 years. Becerra is expected to lay out conditions for approving Chaudhuri’s purchase of the hospitals within the next month.