St. Francis Medical Center is hosting a special celebration to commemorate its one-year anniversary as a member of Prime Healthcare, which will be highlighted by a thank you to the community for its support throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. The event will take place on August 26, 2021, at 11 a.m. outside the main Patient Tower of the medical center. It will celebrate a year of collaboration and commitment to serving the South Los Angeles region and culminate with a white dove release of 75 birds, symbolizing the hospital’s 75-year legacy in the community. Participants will include St. Francis Medical Center and Prime Healthcare leaders, elected officials, first responders and community partners, as well as local business owners, organization operators and individuals who generously donated personal protective equipment (PPE), meals, and other essentials to the hospital to support healthcare workers in the fight against COVID-19.
St. Francis Medical Center CEO Dan Jones, FACHE, said, “Just a year ago the hospital was facing bankruptcy and possible closure. At the same time, it was struggling with a lack of resources amidst the coronavirus pandemic. This all changed when Prime Healthcare acquired the medical center. With new Prime leadership, capital investment and collaborative partnerships we are now moving in a positive direction. We truly have reason to celebrate.”
After years of financial instability, St. Francis Medical Center received a much-needed lifeline when the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Central District of California and the California Attorney General approved Prime Healthcare’s purchase of the hospital on August 14, 2020. Committed to saving hospitals, saving jobs and saving lives, Prime invested more than $12.8 million into the hospital, including $1 million in capital improvements and nearly $5.5 million in equipment upgrades and supply purchases. As a result, St. Francis has kept its doors open, ensuring ongoing access to vital care and services and providing benefits to both staff and patients.
Jones stated, “Among St. Francis Medical Center’s first year achievements as a member of Prime Healthcare are best-in-class technology, including an Epic electronic medical records system that standardizes documentation and processes, enhanced cardiology and radiation oncology services through new clinical capabilities, expansion of its behavioral health capacity to meet the growing need for mental health services in L.A. County, stabilized jobs for nearly 2,000 employees and new partnerships with Children’s Hospital of Orange County and UC Irvine Health to ensure the highest level of care for every newborn in the St. Francis NICU, with access to the latest treatments in maternal fetal medicine.”
Keeping St. Francis’ doors open and its operations strong could not have been more timely. In a region disproportionately affected by the pandemic, the hospital has to date treated more than 3,400 COVID-19 patients, many of them in the ICU. As one of the busiest trauma centers in the county, St. Francis receives some of the sickest and critically ill patients in South Los Angeles while effectively caring for the urgent and non-emergency needs of the community.
While Prime Healthcare has been a tremendous buoy for St. Francis over the past 12 months with its ability to be flexible in responding to changing conditions, the community has been a noteworthy bolster for the healthcare team’s spirits. More than 100 small and large businesses, charitable organizations and individuals have come forward to donate PPE, meals, shoes, and other supplies and comfort items in support of the hospital’s healthcare workers, including Starbucks, Home Depot, Skechers Shoes, KROQ Radio, Beauty Bus, Chipotle Mexican Grill, Everytable, City Dental Care and Concerned Citizens of Compton.
St. Francis Medical Center Chief of Staff Hanh Nguyen-Clark, MD, stated, “Our doctors, nurses, and staff have been touched by the overwhelming support from our community. Donations have ranged from N95 face masks, goggles, face shields, and isolation gowns to work shoes, bottled water, boxed meals, coffee, and transportation services — even handwritten thank you cards from students and office workers. Every contribution is meaningful and sends the message that our commitment to caring for patients during this unprecedented time is appreciated. Now we want to thank the community for caring for us.”
In addition to newfound community relationships, St. Francis Medical Center’s first year with Prime Healthcare forged significant partnerships with city and state government and advocacy groups. The hospital’s series of COVID-19 vaccine clinics for the community, which kicked off in March, is part of a unique collaboration with California Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon’s office, the City of Lynwood, L.A. County Supervisor Holly Mitchell’s office, Lynwood Unified School District and SELA Collaborative to promote health equity and serve the Lynwood and Southeast Los Angeles community, which is one of the most impacted communities in California.
Members of the partnership will be on hand for the hospital’s anniversary salute. They will join St. Francis and Prime Healthcare leaders and representatives from several of the business and community donors in a commemorative program that will conclude with a 75-bird white dove release. The ceremony will symbolize a year of new beginnings and celebrate a future of hope, healing, and shared commitment to serving the healthcare needs of the community.
“Prime Healthcare is honored to continue the legacy of St. Francis Medical Center, an indispensable community partner comprised of committed doctors, nurses, and staff dedicated to saving lives and serving all those in need,” said Sunny Bhatia, MD, CEO of Region I of Prime Healthcare. “Prime is prepared to lead St. Francis into a bright future, and we are grateful for the opportunity along with the support we have received from the community. Happy first year anniversary, St. Francis.”