St. Francis Medical Center commemorated its one-year anniversary as a member of Prime Healthcare and paid tribute to the hospital’s community partners this past year with a celebration event attended by federal, state and city officials.
Just a year ago, the historic 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 critical 384-bed, safety net trauma facility. St. Francis Medical Center was able to continue its legacy of service when Prime Healthcare acquired the hospital on August 14, 2020 – against all odds in the middle of a pandemic – and immediately invested in and transformed the hospital with the implementation of over $12 million in new technology and systems to improve services and care for a community that was devastated by the pandemic. The overnight transformation, investment, and resources from across the national system saved thousands of lives and allowed St. Francis to continue as a beacon of light and hope through dark times.
The anniversary event was highlighted by a unanimous and shared recognition of Prime Healthcare and St. Francis for its extraordinary service to patients and community. Presenting a plaque of recognition, Lynwood Mayor Marisela Santana expressed the City’s gratitude to Prime Healthcare for ensuring the hospital’s 75-year legacy in Lynwood continued. She stated, “This hospital has been a beacon of hope for our community here in Lynwood. Not only for Lynwood, but for all of the communities around us.” She continued, “We appreciate you being here in our community, caring about our residents, our parents, our kids, our business owners, and we wouldn’t have made it this last year had you not come in here and provided the services that you do. Congratulations on making sure that you brought in, and you continue to have, that excellent staff – nurses, doctors, administrators, and your leadership. Prime Healthcare knew what we needed in our community and you delivered.”
Representing California Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon, Field Representative Adrian Landa acknowledged the hospital’s series of COVID-19 vaccine clinics for the community, which was part of a unique collaboration with the Speaker’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 across Lynwood and Southeast Los Angeles communities, some of the most impacted communities in California. Landa stated, “I personally speak for myself and my staff that we are very fortunate and very privileged to have been part of that enormous task of this vaccination effort to help Lynwood residents and communities around Lynwood get vaccinated.”
Landa closed with the presentation of a Certificate of Recognition which read:
“St. Francis Medical Center, on behalf of the California State Assembly and the 63rd Assembly District, congratulations on your one-year anniversary since your acquisition by Prime Healthcare. I commend you for your leadership, addressing the need for healthcare access, in a region impacted greatly by the COVID-19 pandemic. I look forward to many more years of quality healthcare services for our community. Signed, Anthony Rendon, Speaker of the Assembly, dated August 26, 2021.”
State Senator Lena Gonzalez was represented by Field Representative Daniel Cervantes. Presenting a certificate of recognition on behalf of the California Senate, Cervantes read the inscription, stating, “To St. Francis Medical Center, in honor of the one-year anniversary of its acquisition by Prime Healthcare, and for the incredible sacrifice and dedication of your staff serving the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic. On behalf of the 3rd Senate District, congratulations for reaching this great milestone. May you have many more years.”
Gabriela Cid, Deputy, Constituent Engagement, for Los Angeles County Supervisor Holly Mitchell, presented a commendation from the County of Los Angeles, and echoed the sentiments of her colleagues, congratulating Prime Healthcare and St. Francis and thanking the doctors, nurses and staff for the work they have done throughout the pandemic. She shared, “All of my cousins that grew up in Lynwood were born at St. Francis. For us it has been literally the birthplace for our family, and we know St. Francis has continued to be such an important staple to the community, not only for Lynwood but for Southeast Los Angeles cities.” She continued, “When there is a very traumatic response that’s needed, they are brought over to St. Francis, So we know the acquisition by Prime Healthcare has been a tremendous way for the community to continue to benefit beyond the hospital’s 75 years.”
Additional dignitaries and special guests in attendance included Patty Camacho, Acting District Director from the office of Congresswoman Nanette Barragan, Los Angeles County Emergency Medical Services Agency and Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, Century Station, Lynwood Team.
St. Francis Medical Center CEO Dan Jones, FACHE, provided a vivid comparison of the hospital’s situation then and now. He stated, “For years St. Francis had been faced with bankruptcy, financial challenges and serving a community that has been disproportionately affected by healthcare access and social determinants. Staff worked tirelessly to support this community. On March 13 of 2020, St. Francis, in the shadow of bankruptcy and potential closure, like the rest of the world stood shocked with the advent of COVID. Undaunted and committed to the success of this community, Prime Healthcare proceeded in the middle of COVID to secure St. Francis as a member of the Prime Healthcare family. As a result, St. Francis is now on firm footing.”
Jones went on to detail St. Francis Medical Center’s first year achievements as a member of Prime Healthcare, including implementation of best-in-class technology ranging from an Epic electronic system that standardizes documentation and processes to 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.
Over the past year, St. Francis has improved the safety and quality of care that is delivered to the residents of the community of South L.A. and Lynwood. The hospital has treated more than 3,400 COVID patients, vaccinated more than 3,000 employees, community members and first responders, and continues to provide essential care through its trauma program and emergency department, which is one of the busiest in L.A. County.
Jones credited these accomplishments to Prime Healthcare, as well as the St. Francis Board of Directors, Medical Executive Committee and medical staff, the hospital leadership team, Patient and Family Advisory Council, caregivers and support personnel, community partners and the community, who in his words, “supported us, encouraged us and put their care in our hands.”
As Jones extended his gratitude to Prime, the healthcare team and the hospital’s community partners, he stated in closing, “With a new sense of purpose, capital investment and renewed sense of collaboration with our community, the next 75 years look extremely bright for St. Francis, South L.A. and our community of Lynwood.”
On behalf of Prime Healthcare, Kavitha Bhatia, MD, President and Chair, Prime Healthcare Foundation and Chief Medical Officer shared, “Today is really an extraordinary moment. Looking back on this past year, how far we have come and all that we have accomplished together, is truly incredible. It was a year of serving and living our mission. When we reflect on a year ago when St. Francis was in bankruptcy and the future uncertain in the middle of a global pandemic, Prime Healthcare believed in the mission of this hospital. It took tremendous commitment and overcoming extraordinary challenges to make this possible, but we recognized how special this hospital was, and how important St. Francis Medical Center is to the community it serves. We are grateful to the talented staff and physicians for their tireless service throughout and commitment to ensuring this hospital provides hope and improves the lives of all it serves.”
The ceremony culminated with a 75-bird white dove release, symbolizing St. Francis Medical Center’s 75-year legacy in the community.