Daly City’s main hospital, Seton Medical Center, will continue operating for at least six more years as one of the conditions placed on its new owner Thursday.
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra approved the sale of health care facilities owned by Verity Health Systems, which includes Seton Medical Center in Daly City. This means the safety net hospital, whose patients are mostly on Medicare and MediCal, is safe from the threat of closure presented by Verity’s bankruptcy filed in August 2018.
It’s the second financial crisis Seton — which roughly 27,000 people along the San Francisco-San Mateo County border rely on for emergency services — has weathered in just three years. Verity saved the hospital from near-bankruptcy with state-imposed conditions in 2015 but later had to declare bankruptcy itself.
“Any prospective buyer of these non-profit hospitals understands the obligations to the community and to taxpayers that attach when assuming control of these health facilities,” said Becerra in a statement on Thursday. “Maintaining the crucial, life-saving care that families in San Mateo County and Los Angeles County rely on – from cancer treatment to emergency services – is the backbone of this conditional sale agreement involving Verity’s hospitals.”
The newest buyer is Strategic Global Management, a subsidiary of KPC Group of Companies, to the tune of $610 million for Verity’s four hospitals: Seton in Daly City, another Seton in Moss Beach, and two in Southern California.
Becerra is requiring that SGM maintains Seton’s 24-hour emergency and other services at regular levels for 6 years, shorter than the 10 years unions had asked for, and contribute roughly $1.1 million annually in charity care for the surrounding community. They must also complete seismic retrofitting by July 2022.
“While we called on Attorney General Becerra to issue more stringent conditions in order to safeguard the future of Seton Medical Center and Seton Coastside, our members are committed to working with the new operator to preserve the vital community services provided by both hospitals well into the future,” said Sal Rosselli, president of the National Union of Healthcare Workers, which represents more than 700 Seton employees.
SGM did not respond for comment by press time.