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A group of state legislators is calling on Verity Health Systems to reverse its decision to close Seton Medical Center in Daly City, arguing that the closure will make it harder for nearby residents to get to a hospital.
State Sens. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, and Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo, and Assemblymen Phil Ting, D-San Francisco, and Kevin Mullin, D-San Mateo, released a joint statement March 5 about the hospital’s possible closure, which could come as soon as this week.
In addition to requesting that Verity Health Systems change its decision about the hospital’s fate, the legislators argued the company did not follow state law that requires 90-day notice when closing an emergency room.
“Verity Health System’s decision to close two facilities will have a terrible impact to our communities in the southern portion of San Francisco and northern San Mateo County,” the four legislators wrote in their statement. “With COVID-19 posing a public health challenge and our homelessness crisis worsening — both of which are increasing trips to the ER — the closure of Seton Medical Center in Daly City is a huge problem for the community.”
Verity Health declared bankruptcy in 2018 and worked for much of 2019 on a sale agreement with the consultant group Strategic Global Management that may have kept the health care company solvent.
That deal did not get done by its December deadline, however, and Verity Health appeared to pivot to shuttering some of its facilities, including a hospital in Los Angeles and Seton Coastside in Moss Beach.
The closure would force the roughly 27,000 people who use Seton Medical Center each year to travel farther for urgent medical care, which could ultimately lead to overcrowding at nearby hospitals. The group of legislators also noted that the closure would make it harder to treat homeless residents and current and future cases of novel coronavirus.
Nurses represented by the California Nurses Association held a news conference and rally on Friday morning to stop the medical center’s closure. San Mateo County Supervisor David Canepa, Daly City City Councilwoman Pamela DiGiovanni and Colma Mayor John Goodwin joined the demonstration.
“With reports of a dangerous pandemic that is rapidly growing across California and poses a significant threat to our community, it is unconscionable that we could be facing the loss of our hospital with almost no public notice,” Seton Medical Center intensive care nurse Phoebe Minkler said.
Officials with Verity Health Systems were not immediately available to comment on the possible closure.