Hospital’s Closure Prompts Community Concerns

By By Dan Hounsell
March 31, 2021

Many of the nation’s healthcare systems have been pushed to their limits over the last year as they struggled to remain financially strong while working through the COVID-19 pandemic. While the pandemic has made operations tougher for many systems, the business of healthcare has never been easy.

Consider the case of Olympia Medical Center in Los Angeles, which opened in 1947 and is slated to close this week, according to The Los Angeles Times. The pending closure of the facility — which housed an emergency department and six intensive care beds, among other services — has prompted concern for myriad reasons: Nearly 40 percent of the hospital’s patients are Black Americans, 63 percent are over 60, and 90 percent are covered by Medicare and Medi-Cal.

The hospital’s operator, Alecto Healthcare Services, caught the community by surprise with Olympia’s abrupt sale to UCLA Health. Some critics questioned why the company received more than $25 million in COVID-19 relief funds at a time it was planning to close the hospital. An Alecto representative said the decision to sell predated the pandemic. Public policy experts said it’s business as usual in the world of healthcare.

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