An empty hospital near downtown Los Angeles will be leased by the state to help with the COVID-19 outbreak in Los Angeles County, Verity Health System of California announced Friday.
Verity said in a news release that the state will “lease St. Vincent Medical Center to determine its best use to help address COVID-19 in Los Angeles County.”
It’s unclear if the hospital at 3rd and Alvarado streets will be used to house those infected with COVID-19, for patients with other health issues or for another purpose. Financial details were not disclosed.
The hospital is in the council district represented by City Councilman Mitch O’Farrell, who praised the agreement Friday.
“With everything turned upside down due to the coronavirus pandemic, I can’t think of a more timely, urgent purpose for St. Vincent Hospital in the 13th District. I commend [Gov. Gavin Newsom] for taking this action and in his handling of the crisis so far,” O’Farrell said.
Newsom’s office didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
O’Farrell was one of several political leaders who had sought to turn the empty medical center into housing and services to help the city’s homeless population.
Verity Health System also is leasing the Seton Medical Center in Daly City to the state, it was announced earlier in the week.
San Mateo County Supervisor David Canepa, who represents Daly City, said the state will lease 177 beds at Seton Medical, taking several floors for patients ill with COVID-19.
“This is going to provide capacity to flex up,” Canepa said. “It’s about saving lives.”
St. Vincent is owned by Verity Health System, which took the hospital into bankruptcy in 2018. Among the bankruptcy creditors is the hospital system’s former management company, Integrity Healthcare, which is controlled by entrepreneur-physician Patrick Soon-Shiong’s company NantWorks. Soon-Shiong also owns the L.A. Times.
“We are pleased to be able to partner with the state of California to address this pressing public health need,” said Rich Adcock, CEO of Verity.
The announcement noted that Verity also owns and runs St. Francis Medical Center in Los Angeles County, which will provide care for COVID-19 patients and other patients in the community.