A federal Bankruptcy Court judge in Santa Ana, Calif., ordered Elastar Community Hospital, Los Angeles, to shut down after the 110-bed hospital amassed more than $10 million in debt and could not pay its 400 employees. The 80-year-old hospital, which primarily serves Latino immigrants, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 2003. It was subsequently placed under Chapter 7 protection, which allows a court-appointed trustee to begin liquidating the hospital's assets. Elastar marks the third hospital emergency room in Los Angeles County to close this year, joining those of 213-bed Santa Teresita Hospital, Duarte, and 124-bed Century City Hospital, Los Angeles. Elastar, founded in 1924 as Santa Marta Hospital, became part of not-for-profit Carondolet Health System, St. Louis, in 1994. It was sold in 2002 to for-profit Star Healthcare Group, Newport Beach, Calif. As part of the $4.5 million deal, Star Healthcare agreed to keep the hospital's emergency room open for at least five years. At deadline, company officials could not be reached for comment. -- by Laura B. Benko
Judge orders bankrupt Calif. hospital to shut down
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