DALY CITY, California – Filipino nurses and other hospital staff members gathered outside Seton Hospital in Daly City for a candlelight vigil to demonstrate their concern about the future of a hospital chain.
Under the Daughters of Charity Health System, Seton Hospital has been a key health provider for Filipino Americans in Daly City for decades.
But now, they are looking for buyers for its six hospitals.
Union members said the health system has been losing roughly $10 million per month since January 2014.
The rally urged the healthcare system to select responsible bidders so they can continue to serve their patients, majority of whom are Filipino-Americans.
Vilma Casamina, a 12-year CNA at Seaton Coastside, said: “We do have a bidder in place and it’s the Blue Wolf and we would like the Daughters of Charity to consider that because they are willing to purchase the system as a whole instead of being individually bought. If we consider to have Prime, it will not help keep the system together and our jobs are not really secured.”
Blue Wolf Capital has committed to the union’s two requests of buying all six hospitals to ensure jobs and health coverage in the communities and the commitment to continue the flow of money towards the retirement of the workers.
The union is against the other bidder, Prime Healthcare, because it is reportedly under federal investigation for Medicare malpractice.
Richard Gutierrez has been working for Seton Coastside for six years as a physical therapist. He saw the vigil as a success in letting bidders know that Seton is a big part of the Filipino American community.
"A lot of people were born here, have had family members that were sick here, and were taken cared of by staff like us. Filipino Americans that try to take care of our community have dedication and show our hard work as Filipino Americans,” said Gutierrez.
Mary Coady, the director of marketing and communications for Seton Medical Center and Seton Coastside, reassured hospital staff and the community.
In a statement, Coady said: “Daughters of Charity Health System continues to pursue the sale of our hospitals, including Seton and Seton Coastside. We are pleased with the level of interest in purchasing our hospitals. To the maximum extent possible, the Daughters of Charity are committed to ensuring that our legacy of compassionate care is put into the hands of an organization that will continue to provide essential health care services in the community, preserve jobs, and assure that all members of the community have access to affordable, high-quality health care for years to come.”
While there is no timetable for Daughters of Charity to select a bidder, hospital staff members said the sooner the better.
“We hope they act quickly,” said Casamina. “According to Daughters of Charity they want to pursue and have this done by the end of the year but if we could get an answer more quickly I think it’s going to help everyone be at peace.”