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4 SoCal Hospitals Close Their ER Doors

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TUSTIN (CBSLA.com) — Four Southland hospitals owned by Pacific Health Corp. closed their doors Wednesday due to legal troubles.

The emergency departments of Bellflower Medical Center, Newport Specialty Hospital and Los Angeles Metropolitan Medical Center’s Los Angeles and Hawthorne campuses are now closed.

Existing patients at those locations will continue to receive care there while officials organize their transfer to other facilities across the region, the company said.

In all, more than 530 hospital beds will be lost.

“This would be the first place I would come to and for this to happen, it would be a shock,” a mother and Bellflower Medical Center employee told KNX 1070’s Margaret Carrero.

PHC says the closures are a result of outstanding legal issues, including more than $23 million in settlements and fines that have been reached with the federal government.

In the summer of 2012, the company agreed to pay $16.5 million to settle allegations that homeless people were recruited to undergo unnecessary medical procedures that were later billed to Medicare and MediCal.

Earlier this month, PHC was fined $7 million after an investigation revealed the company failed to pay wages, issued bad checks, and did not provide insurance coverage after collecting premiums at Anaheim General Hospital.

“The settlement we reached with the Department of Justice last year, as well as other legal matters from our past, which have made it impossible for us to continue operating in this especially challenging economic climate for all health-care providers,” a statement said.

“It’s sad because the community needs this,” one woman said.

Last week, PHC also announced the May 23 closure of Anaheim General.

RELATED STORY: Anaheim General Hospital To Close In May

(©2013 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)

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