SACRAMENTO — A Los Angeles bankruptcy court has denied California Attorney General Xavier Becerra's request for a stay in the sale of Verity Health Systems of California's (Verity) St. Louise and O'Connor hospitals in order to ensure the hospitals will honor a previous legal agreement to keep their essential healthcare services operating in certain communities.
According to the Attorney General's Office, when Verity filed for bankruptcy in 2018, the sale did not include the legally placed agreement on Verity that was part of the attorney general's approval allowing "a change in governance and control" from Daughters of Charity to Verity. The agreement would require Verity to keep specific health care services such as coronary care emergency care and neonatal intensive care services in certain vulnerable communities through the hospital's transition, the Attorney General's Office said.
"We take our responsibility to protect the health and safety of California patients and the Santa Clara community seriously," Becerra said in a statement. "From ensuring access to emergency care to women’s health care, the important patient protections that apply to Verity’s health facilities must be maintained in any transfer of these hospitals.
"This decision unfortunately strips our office of the authority to protect patients when hospitals are transferred to public entities like the county of Santa Clara. This is concerning since the county of Santa Clara would not articulate which of these important patient protections and services that were a condition for the operation of Verity’s hospitals would survive in the transfer of ownership. Nor would Santa Clara County explain why it would not commit to maintain these levels of patient protections and services."