A consultant's recommendation to close a hospital in West Palm Beach, Fla., has ignited a community backlash.
A group of community, political and business leaders has threatened to sue Intracoastal Health Systems, West Palm Beach, to stop it from consolidating its two hospitals into one.
On Friday, Gerald Richman, the West Palm Beach attorney representing the community group, said the group would hold off on legal action until after Intracoastal's scheduled board meeting June 27.
The operational changes, which were recommended earlier this month by Brentwood, Tenn.-based Cambio Health Solutions, are aimed at stemming financial losses at Intracoastal. Last year, Intracoastal lost more than $9 million, and losses this year are expected to top $38 million, according to financial data provided by the system.
Intracoastal operates 341-bed Good Samaritan Medical Center and 460-bed St. Mary's Medical Center, both in West Palm Beach.
Cambio, hired by Intracoastal in January, has recommended that St. Mary's be closed and services be consolidated at the Good Samaritan campus following a $70 million improvement and expansion project.
Cambio also has suggested that ownership of Good Samaritan be turned over to Newtown Square, Pa.-based Catholic Health East, which owns St. Mary's and a 50% stake in the operating company that oversees Intracoastal.
Richman said his group wants access to Intracoastal financial records and the chance to bring in outside experts to review Cambio's recommendation to close St. Mary's.
In a written statement, Intracoastal said it won't make a final decision on whether to close St. Mary's until after the Florida attorney general has completed a review of the proposed closure.
In the meantime, Intracoastal said it will continue to look for ways to reduce its $2.5 million monthly cash drain without closing a hospital.