Olympia Medical Center may yet stay open to help cope with pandemic, city official says – Daily News

on Jan20
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The new owner of Olympia Medical Center in Mid-Wilshire — which announced suddenly on New Year’s Eve that it would close its doors in March, setting off alarms in the pandemic-plagued community — would allow the previous owner to keep the hospital open amid the coronavirus surge, at least through the end of the year.

UCLA Health, which recently purchased the 204-bed facility, has leased back the property to its previous owner Alecto Healthcare for the rest of the year, according to city officials. That could allow the hospital to continue to treat an overflow of COVID-19 patients.

A representative for Councilwoman Nithya Raman, whose district includes the hospital, wrote in an email that “UCLA has informed us that it has leased back the property for the remainder of the year, thereby providing Alecto the ability to keep Olympia Medical Center open beyond its announced closure on March 31.”

Raman’s spokesman Jesse Zwick added that the councilwoman’s office has reached out to Alecto to “reiterate our strong support for no reduction in overall emergency services capacity in Los Angeles while COVID-19 is surging and ICU capacity in hospitals is at zero.”

UCLA Health has “provided Alecto with the ability to keep Olympia Medical Center’s doors open to help manage the current surge in COVID-19 patients,” wrote UCLA spokesman Enrique Rivero in an email. “Additionally, we are encouraged by the ongoing dialogue between Alecto and L.A. County (Emergency Medical Services), including ensuring the hospital is adequately staffed for services.”

It’s not yet certain if it’s a done deal, however. A UCLA spokesperson said they believed the hospital would remain open, but Alecto Healthcare Executive Vice President Michael Sarrao could not be reached for comment on Wednesday despite multiple attempts. Zwick said the councilwoman’s office had not gotten confirmation.

Whatever happens this year, the 74-year-old site will have a new mission in years to come, officials said. UCLA Health confirmed it recently purchased the site and will “be launching an initial planning process for a state-of-the-art major facility renovation of the former Olympia Campus. The initial plans will include exploration of inpatient and outpatient mental health services – a dire and unmet need in Los Angeles County with few and shrinking providers of inpatient care,” according to the statement.

Many would like to see the site remain a full-service hospital, however.

Nurse Shanita Anderson, who works in the emergency department at Olympia, said she was surprised when she saw a public notice posted in the hospital on New Year’s Eve that the facility would close by the end of March and lay off its staff.

“There’s a lot of people in the community that depend on Olympia,” she said, adding that only since July, her team has treated more than 2,000 people. “We build rapport with our community.”

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