Catholic Healthcare West, San Francisco, said it will close 207-bed Northridge Hospital Medical Center's Sherman Way Campus in Van Nuys, Calif., by year-end, marking the second announced shutdown of a southern California hospital this month. On Aug. 13, a federal bankruptcy court judge ordered the closure of ElaStar Community Hospital, Los Angeles, after determining that the 110-bed facility had amassed $10 million in debt. Northridge Hospital, which lost $1.1 million on revenue of $67.4 million last year, faces declining government reimbursement, nurse shortages and $16 million in mandatory seismic retrofitting, officials said. The hospital will be the fourth Los Angeles County hospital to close this year, joining ElaStar, 39-bed Santa Teresita Hospital, Duarte, Calif., and 124-bed Century City Hospital, Los Angeles.
Plans call for patients to be transferred one mile away to nonaffiliated Valley Presbyterian Hospital, Van Nuys, which also intends to acquire the shuttered hospital's medical equipment. "In such a highly competitive market, keeping open two hospitals with similar services that are so close to each other often means that neither can operate viably," Northridge Hospital President Jerry Conway said in a news release. The hospital's sister facility, 412-bed Northridge (Calif.) Hospital Medical Center's Roscoe Boulevard Campus, will remain open. -- by Laura B. Benko