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Mission accepts sale terms

South Coast Medical Center will have a new owner Tuesday and a new name Wednesday.

Adventist Health and Mission Hospital have both agreed to conditions placed on transfer of the hospital to Mission, Adventist announced in a news release Friday.

The state Attorney General’s office announced June 9 its approval of the acquisition of South Coast Medical Center by St. Joseph Health System’s Mission Hospital from Adventist Health, but Mission and Adventist took time to review and accept the terms imposed by the state.

The decision clears the way for completion of the purchase transaction for the 208-bed facility.

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In a joint statement, the health firms said: “Mission Hospital and Adventist Health are pleased with the decision and would like to publicly thank the Attorney General’s Office for its review and approval of the sale, and the residents and city of Laguna Beach for their support. Transactions of this scope are very complex and require thoughtful assessment and substantial effort to ensure the best possible care for the community.

“We look forward to continuing the tradition of providing compassionate care and service to the community. We will continue to work with Adventist Health to ensure a smooth transition for staff, physicians, patients and families and look forward to further serving the healthcare needs of the residents of the South County coastal communities,” said Peter F. Bastone, president and chief executive officer of Mission Hospital.

“We are pleased that the attorney general has approved what Adventist Health believes is the most desirable action — selling South Coast Medical Center’s assets to a new not-for-profit owner who will continue its operations and invest in its future, a goal we have shared with the community from the start,” said Teresa Day, vice president, overseeing the sales process for Adventist Health.

City officials are pleased that the sale has gone forward, despite some misgivings.

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“The city did not get everything we were asking for, but the conditions from the attorney general are generally in line with what we wanted,” Assistant City Manager John Pietig said.

The conditions include a provision that the hospital be maintained through the end of 2012, no matter what happens regarding seismic retrofitting requirements by the state.

Seismic requirements for California hospitals — put in place after the 1994 Northridge earthquake — have threatened to close down hospitals due to the expense of retrofitting and have been an issue for the Laguna Beach facility, which is 50 years old.

Among the other conditions:

 24-hour emergency services with 12 beds as currently licensed;

 Psychiatric services for “involuntary” patients with a minimum of 18 beds as currently licensed;

 Intensive care services with four beds (less than the hospital now has).

 A minimum $5-million investment in capital improvements and equipment over three years, with annual reports to the attorney general’s office detailing the expenditures;

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 $1.8 million to be transferred by July 31 to the Irvine Health Foundation to establish a fund for cancer and cancer related services to the hospital’s service area;

 All remaining restricted funds in the now-dissolved South Coast Medical Center Foundation will be transferred by July 31 to the Irvine Health Foundation to be used at the Laguna Beach hospital;

 For five years after the purchase, Mission is required to provide community benefit services at the hospital at an annual cost of $418,400, and if that amount is not spent, the deficient amount will be donated to the Laguna Beach Community Clinic.

For more information about the attorney general’s decision and the conditions, visit ag.ca.gov/charities/nonprofithosp.php.



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