300+ workers to lose jobs as Prime takes over California hospital, union says

Prime Healthcare begins taking over Lynwood, Calif.-based St. Francis Medical Center Aug. 14, and more than 300 of the hospital’s workers are expected to lose their jobs, according to a labor union representing workers at the 348-bed hospital. 

Prime Healthcare won a bid in bankruptcy court to buy the Lynwood hospital from El Segundo, Calif.-based Verity Health System for $350 million. The transaction, which won bankruptcy court approval this week, closed Aug. 14.  

SEIU-United Healthcare Workers West, a union representing St. Francis Medical Center workers, said that more than 300 St. Francis employees have either lost their jobs or not been offered labor contracts as of Aug. 14. 

The jobs affected include workers in the emergency department and environmental services, according to the union. 

“I’ve worked at this hospital for 23 years — my entire career — and with the sweep of Prime’s hand I’ve been brushed aside as though everything I’ve given to St. Francis and this community means nothing,” said Mayra Castaneda, an ultrasound technician. “All that we feared about Prime taking over this hospital  — undercutting quality care and mistreating its own staff  — is already happening on day one.”

Prime Healthcare told Becker’s Hospital Review that it has extended offers to about 80 percent of the hospital’s 2,000-employee workforce.

“St. Francis Medical Center and the hospital is fully staffed to care for all members of the community. Prime will continue St. Francis service lines, charity care and community benefits while investing millions in technology, systems and infrastructure improvements to modernize the delivery of care, investments which are already underway with the installation of a brand new electronic medical record,” Prime said in a statement to Becker’s. “In the midst of this pandemic and economic challenges, Prime has remained deeply committed to St. Francis, the caregivers, patients and community, and we continue to evaluate staffing and will post additional positions based on future community needs.” 

Editor’s Note: This article was updated at 1:00 p.m. Aug. 14, to include a statement from Prime Healthcare.

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