Co-founder of healthcare firm

From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Leonard Cohen, 83, a co-founder of National Medical Enterprises, one of the first publicly traded hospital companies and a founding partner of the Beverly Hills law firm Ervin, Cohen and Jessup, died May 9 in Modesto. He had been in declining health with Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease.

With Richard Eamer and John Bebrosian, Cohen co-founded National Medical Enterprises in 1969. From its inception, Cohen was an executive officer and director of the firm and oversaw much of the company's corporate development activities.

The firm became one of the nation's fastest-growing healthcare companies and by 1993 had more than $4 billion in annual sales and 161 facilities worldwide. But the company also was beset by fraud allegations, and in 1993 Cohen and Eamer left the firm. They were given the titles, respectively, of vice chairman and chairman emeritus of the company. National Medical became Tenet Healthcare in 1995.

Cohen was born Jan. 19, 1925, in New York City but moved with his family to Los Angeles as child.

After graduating from Roosevelt High School, he joined the Army Air Forces, serving in Europe during World War II. He enrolled at UCLA after his discharge, earning his bachelor's degree and certified public accountant license in 1948. He graduated from Loyola Law School in 1951.

He co-founded Ervin, Cohen and Jessup in 1953.

An active philanthropist, Cohen was an avid supporter of Operation Walk, a Los Angeles organization committed to hip and knee replacements for people in the Third World.

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