Seton (and Seton Coastside) are on the edge. I didn’t know how close until the meeting today. I didn’t see anyone else from Coastside there, so I think the alarm must be sounded. David Canepa is definitely a hero here. He has worked non stop to try to improve the situation. Dr. Robert Perez, Chief of the Medical Staff, is the other hero. (He is the brother of Tom Perez, head of the Democratic party.)
~ Judy Macias, Village of the Coastside (VOTC)
I attended the Town Hall sponsored by Supervisor David Canepa today at the Daly City Chambers. The room held more than 100 people. Physicians, nurses, County health officials, community leaders and residents came together to join unanimously with Supervisor Canepa (born at Seton, former Daly City Council Member) to support keeping Seton open. Seton is the largest employer in Daly City and is invaluable to the diverse population it has served so well since 1965.
Dr. Robert Perez, Chief of the Medical Staff, said that North San Mateo County would be a “medical desert for health care without Seton.” The hospital serves approximately 300,000 people in the region, many on Medicare and Medi-Cal. One nurse broke down in tears as he anguished over the lack of services or availability for the patients in their special units.
Verity Health Systems, owned by Dr Patrick Soon-Shiong (owner of the Lakers and the L.A. Times) purchased Seton in 2016 and declared bankruptcy in 2019 when they agreed to a sale to TMG. Negotiations on the sale fell through at the end of 2019 and the future of the deal is in limbo.
Three hospitals are impacted by the bankruptcy: Seton Medical Center, Daly City, Seton Medical Center Coastside, Moss Beach, and St. Francis, Lynwood in So. California. St. Vincent Hospital in L.A. is no longer included in the negotiations; Verity closed the hospital abruptly with only two days’ notice at the beginning of this year.
Supervisor Canepa, and Louise F. Rogers, Chief of Health Services for San Mateo County expressed deep concern about the ability of other hospitals in San Mateo County to absorb Seton’s patient population if it closed. The County has a deficit of $51 million dollars for health services in the coming fiscal year due to insufficient reimbursement from the State and is planning staff reductions and exploring new sources of revenue. The County has already given $40 million ($25 million for patient care and $15 for seismic retrofit) to keep Seton in operation but now funds are unable to keep up with the losses.
Dr. Robert Perez held out some hope for several options including negotiations with a physician-owned hospital corporation in Southern California and a plea to the bankruptcy judge to consider the vital importance of Seton in the North County Community.