Downey Regional Medical Center debt was downgraded to C from CCC by Standard & Poor’s and the ratings agency suspended the hospital’s rating after the facility filed for bankruptcy last month and failed to release financial statements for the past three years. Management at the 181-bed hospital told the New York ratings agency that financial statements for fiscal 2009 and the previous two years, would not be available until January 2010, said Ken Gacka, a Standard & Poor’s analyst. The lack of information prompted the agency to temporarily suspend the rating, which could be reinstated if the hospital releases audited statements. Downey Regional Medical Center filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court of the Central District of California in mid-September, and cited dysfunctional financial computer systems and unfavorable insurance contracts as the cause of its financial distress.
Sutter Health is merging two of its foundations to form one large physician group to serve the West Bay region of California, effective Jan. 1, 2010. The Physician Foundation at California Pacific Medical Center and Sutter Medical Foundation North Bay will become Sutter Pacific Medical Foundation, according to Shaun Ralston, the communications manager for Sutter North Bay who will continue in that role after the new foundation is established. Sutter Pacific Medical Foundation will have 226 physicians and 80 midlevel practitioners, said Ralston, who added that combining the two organizations will result in better patient care and operational efficiencies. According to the new foundation’s Web site, the Sutter Pacific Medical Foundation will deliver healthcare services in San Francisco, Marin, Sonoma and Lake counties, and will have “additional outreach locations.”