After much public outcry over closing a local hospital during a pandemic that has strained area hospitals to critical capacity, City Councilmember Nithya Raman’s office said UCLA Health, which recently purchased Olympia Medical Center, has leased the property back to its current operator, Alecto Healthcare Services, for the remainder of the year, which could allow the company to keep the hospital open.
Today, Raman’s office shared the following statement with the Buzz:
Our office has regularly followed up on the sale of Olympia Medical Center since it rose to our attention after the New Year. 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.
We have 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, and will continue to keep residents informed as we hear more.
Raman’s comments were also reported in the Los Angeles Daily News today, with the caveat that Alecto has not confirmed it will keep the hospital open.
Buzz calls and emails to Olympia Medical Center’s CEO and Alecto Healthcare Executive Vice President Michael Sarrao have not been returned. In the absence of any statement from Alecto, local officials continue to press their case that the hospital should remain open during the pandemic, and hope for the best.
UCLA Health also weighed in in support of the effort to keep the hospital open, with the following statement provided to the Buzz:
“As healthcare workers who see first-hand the need for medical support services in a city that is surging with COVID-19, we have provided Alecto with the ability to keep Olympia Medical Center’s doors open to help manage the current surge in COVID-19 patients. Additionally, we are encouraged by the ongoing dialogue between Alecto and LA County EMS, including ensuring the hospital is adequately staffed for services. We reiterate our effort to continue providing assistance in services to our collective community of Los Angeles.
“In 2021, UCLA Health 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. UCLA Health is committed to providing access to care for patients who need our services. With the addition of this campus, located in the Mid-Wilshire area, we have the ability to expand that access and add hundreds of health care jobs in LA County. This planning process, which will commence soon, will inform key activities including timing. We will provide regular updates to the community along the way.”