Attorney General, Pope Francis will weigh in on sale of Bay Area hospitals

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Hundreds of people turned out to voice their opinion over the sale of O'Connor Hospital and three other hospitals in the Bay Area that are for sale.

There was a huge protest on Wednesday in front of a San Jose hospital that's part of a healthcare system in the process of being sold.

The Catholic group Daughters of Charity is selling O'Connor Hospital and five other California hospitals to the for-profit healthcare chain Prime Healthcare. Three other hospitals involved are also in the Bay Area.

Supporters and opponents of the Daughters of Charity's decision had a chance to speak out on Wednesday, chanting at visitors and anyone else in the vicinity.

Inside one of the office buildings, representatives of the State Attorney General's Office are holding a public hearing.

Dozens and dozens of people signed up to voice their opinion on the sale.

Hospital officials are expecting Kamala Harris to make a decision by early to mid-February.

Opponents of the deal say it would threaten low-income residents' access to healthcare and risk cutting healthcare services and jobs.

"They're known for displacing workers. Not working with the community. There's been allegations of charging people in the community more money for their insurance," O'Connor Hospital employee William Romero said.

Supporters of the sale say Prime Healthcare was the only viable option that would keep the Daughters of Charity hospitals from going bankrupt, risking several closures and creating a public health crisis.

"Basically, if the deal for Prime Healthcare doesn't happen, the Daughters are probably going to go under. Our pensions will probably be lost. Our jobs will probably be lost. And it matters. This is a big deal," employee Frank Roeth said.

Santa Clara County Supervisor Cindy Chavez is also concerned.

"The more for-profit entities that we have, the less opportunity there is to provide services to the over 200,000 people who live in our community, who have no access to health insurance right now," said Chavez.

More hearings are scheduled this week in Gilroy, Moss Beach and Daly City. In the meantime, there's one thing that everyone can agree on.

"We're all here to try to make sure that the sick and the poor is served with quality healthcare," said Gregg Woods, O'Connor Hospital employee.

Because this is a Catholic hospital, Pope Francis needs to approve the deal. O'Connor officials expect that to happen in a week or two.

Prime Healthcare executives say they'll preserve most jobs and pensions. They've pledged to keep the hospital open for at least five years.

Related Topics:
healthhealth carehospitalssaleskamala harrisattorney generalprotesthealth insuranceSan JoseCaliforniaMoss BeachDaly CityGilroy
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