Shuttered St. Vincent Medical Center to be Used as Overflow Facility to Treat COVID-19 Cases

CNS News
April 06, 2020 - 4:30 pm

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - After weeks of discussion amid a possible ownership change, the shuttered St. Vincent Medical Center in the Westlake District will be used starting next week as an overflow facility to treat coronavirus cases, state and local officials announced today.

   According to Gov. Gavin Newsom, the hospital will have up to 266 beds available as a "surge" facility. Newsom said last month the state was in talks to lease the hospital, but a deal hadn't been finalized.

   The hospital is expected to be available starting April 13, in cooperation with Kaiser Permanente and Dignity Health.

   Newsom said the lease is part of a statewide effort to add 50,000 beds to the state's existing hospital capacity of 75,000 beds.

   County Supervisor Hilda Solis, whose district includes St. Vincent Medical Center, said the county will work with Dignity and Kaiser to provide "transportation, referrals and other support" for the hospital's operation.

   "Once operational, the Los Angeles Surge Hospital at St. Vincent will serve the region with the primary mission of increasing hospital capacity to care for patients with COVID-19 which will help slow the spread of this virus," Solis said in a statement.

   Nonprofit Verity Health System announced in January that a proposed sale of the hospital in the Westlake District had fallen through, and the facility would be closing.

   Verity filed court papers seeking authority to close the medical center at 2131 W. Third St. Verity Health was working through Chapter 11 bankruptcy and had hoped to transfer ownership of the hospital and three other medical centers.

   Los Angeles County offered a bid for the hospital in early February, and the city was also contemplating purchasing it. St. Vincent had 366 beds at the time it was closed.

   Last week, Los Angeles Times owner Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong's family foundation announced a bid to purchase the facility for $135 million and turn it into a hospital for coronavirus patients and research.

   Meanwhile, County Supervisor Kathryn Barger said Monday that International Medical Corps tents with additional beds for coronavirus patients will also be established at Olive View-UCLA and County-USC medical centers.