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St. Francis Medical Center, a member of Prime Healthcare, was awarded “Champion of the Year” by the City of Lynwood at its State of the City Address held at Bateman Hall on December 1, 2021. Before an audience of community and regional leaders, the honor was presented by Mayor Marisela Santana, who expressed the City’s thanks to St. Francis for its support and collaboration. The award, as inscribed, recognized the hospital’s “unwavering service and dedication to the City of Lynwood during its Centennial Year,” and acknowledged 2021 as a period of recovery, resiliency, and a new century and beginning for the community.

The award was accepted on behalf of the hospital by Sunny Bhatia, MD, CEO, Region I and Corporate Chief Medical Officer for Prime Healthcare, and Kristin Christophersen, DNP, Interim Chief Executive Officer for St. Francis Medical Center.

Deeply grateful for the honor, Dr. Bhatia extended his gratitude to the Mayor and city council, “The relationship, the partnership, the collaboration has meant so much, and I think we are just at the tip of the iceberg. There is so much we can do to serve the healthcare needs of the Lynwood community. I am very optimistic and proud of what we have done and what we are able to do going forward.”

Dr. Bhatia said that the award was particularly noteworthy in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. He acknowledged the St. Francis physicians, nurses, technicians and staff for rising to the occasion to care for patients throughout each coronavirus surge, “never hesitating to put themselves in harm’s way to serve others.” He also highlighted the healing that has taken place through the hospital’s community COVID-19 vaccine clinics, coordinated this past year in partnership with the City of Lynwood, California Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon’s office, L.A. County Supervisor Holly Mitchell’s office, Lynwood Unified School District, and Southeast Los Angeles Collaborative (SELA). The clinics provided thousands of vaccines to Lynwood residents and Southeast Los Angeles communities that were most heavily impacted by the pandemic.

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.

Dr. Bhatia stated that since acquiring St. Francis Medical Center last year, Prime Healthcare and the hospital leadership have been proud to enhance services such as Behavioral Health and Maternity Health, and look forward to growing primary care, senior care, and other programs that support the community’s healthcare needs.

Dr. Bhatia thanked the Sheriff’s Department, Fire Department and first responders for the positive impact they have on healthcare delivery for LA County and Lynwood, and he recognized the other individuals and groups who share a commitment to the health and well-being of the community. He said that continuing the good work in progress “will take partnership and collaboration from key stakeholders.”

Reaffirming Prime Healthcare and St. Francis Medical Center’s gratitude to the City and its constituents, Dr. Bhatia stated, “It is an honor and a privilege to be able to serve the community of Lynwood, and we look forward to continuing on that mission.”

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