The county reported 19 new cases of the coronavirus Saturday evening, while deaths remained at 13, a number unchanged since Friday. A total of 372 people have contracted the virus out of the 4,230 who have been tested, a positive rate of nearly 9%. Of the county’s positive cases, nearly 42%, or 155, are between the ages of 18 and 49. Another 122 are between the ages of 50 and 64, while 91 are aged 65 and up. Four are under the age of 18. Local cases were mostly unaltered Saturday; however, three new cases were reported in Hesperia. Victorville added one. Those cities’ new totals are nine and 10, respectively. In providing that information, county spokesperson David Wert said public health officials do not know if every deceased individual had health issues beyond COVID-19. As such, those details were not included in his response. “That data is apparently difficult to come by,” Wert said. “We had it anecdotally for those on whom we reported it.” Wert said the county is working on increasing the details and timeliness of its reporting. An aspect of the data-collection process that has proven complex is that the county is not notified of its COVID-19-related deaths as they occur, according to Wert.
Coronavirus-related deaths in the county increased by two Thursday, bringing that total to eight, while confirmed cases rose to more than 300, according to updated data on the COVID-19 dashboard. Thursday’s 50-case increase to a total of 304 in San Bernardino County follows a spike of 71 cases Wednesday. County spokesperson David Wert told the Daily Press the two additional deaths were an 89-year-old woman and a 92-year-old man… Six new cases in the High Desert and Big Bear Lake. Cases in Victorville and Adelanto both increased by two, to 9 and 3, respectively. Apple Valley added one case. No new cases were shown for Barstow, Hesperia, Oak Hills, Phelan, Wrightwood or Yucca Valley.
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Coronavirus-related deaths in the county increased by two Thursday, bringing that total to eight, while confirmed cases rose to more than 300, according to updated data on the COVID-19 dashboard.
Thursday’s 50-case increase to a total of 304 in San Bernardino County follows a spike of 71 cases Wednesday. County spokesperson David Wert told the Daily Press the two additional deaths were an 89-year-old woman and a 92-year-old man.
The dashboard shows six new cases in the High Desert and Big Bear Lake. Cases in Victorville and Adelanto both increased by two, to 9 and 3, respectively. Apple Valley added one case. No new cases were shown for Barstow, Hesperia, Oak Hills, Phelan, Wrightwood or Yucca Valley.
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VICTORVILLE — A second drive-thru COVID-19 testing event will be held here this week, San Bernardino County public health officials said.
The event is set to take place for those with appointments from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday at the San Bernardino County Fairgrounds, 14800 Seventh Street. Walk-ins will be accepted from 1 to 2 p.m.
People without appointments will still have to arrive in a vehicle, however, and be a county resident.
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VICTORVILLE — Kaiser Permanente has announced the temporary closure of some medical office buildings and the consolidation to fewer locations in some of its service areas, including one location in the Victor Valley.
The High Desert/Victorville Medical Office Building 2 on Park Avenue near Palmdale Road is one of seven Southern California locations operated by Kaiser that were closed as of Monday due to the coronavirus outbreak.
The High Desert/Victorville Medical Office Building 1 will remain open at this time and continue to provide urgent care, pharmacy, laboratory, family medicine, internal medicine and other services.
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City-related data shows that 13 of San Bernardino County’s 111 confirmed cases of COVID-19 are located in the High Desert, with the majority of them in Victorville.
The county Department of Public Health COVID-19 dashboard, which offers online statistics related to cases and testing, was updated Monday to include the number of positive cases by location.
Here are the confirmed cases for the High Desert as of Monday evening:
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KPC Health Founder, Chairman Receives ‘Above and Beyond’ Award From Crime Survivors
CORONA, Calif., Aug. 15, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Dr. Kali P. Chaudhuri, Founder and Chairman of the KPC Group and KPC Health, was recently presented with the “Above and Beyond” award from the Southern California based non-profit, Crime Survivors. Crime Survivors’ mission is to provide hope and healing to victims and survivors of crime through advocacy and the support of resources, information, and empowerment from the critical time after a crime occurs, through the challenges and successes of surviving and thriving.
In April of 2018, Dr. Chaudhuri and KPC Health generously provided space to establish the first Crime Survivors Resource Center in Southern California. The resource center is located adjacent to Orange County Global Medical Center and Regional Trauma Center in the KPC Health corporate office building and is a place where survivors of crime can find the support and resources they need. The award was given to Dr. Chaudhuri in recognition of this contribution.
The award was presented at Crime Survivors’ annual Hope Gratitude Gala on Friday, August 2nd, which was co-chaired by Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer and Orange County Sheriff Don Barnes, and featured veteran and international hero, Spencer Stone, as the keynote speaker.
“We are extremely grateful to Dr. Chaudhuri and KPC Health for their generous support for the Crime Survivors organization,” said Patricia Wenskunas, Founder and CEO of Crime Survivors. “Having a brick and mortar Southern California Resource Center better enables us to provide critical support services to survivors of crime and is a major milestone for our organization.”
“KPC Health is proud to support such an incredible organization that provides a voice for the voiceless and does so much good work for our community,” said Dr. Kali P. Chaudhuri, Founder and Chairman of the KPC Group and KPC Health. “Patricia Wenskunas is a selfless person that is committed to an important cause, and we look forward to supporting her and Crime Survivors in their future endeavors.”
“Dr. Chaudhuri understands that providing quality healthcare is about more than simply treating a patient when they are sick or injured,” said Peter Baronoff, CEO of KPC Health. “It also requires a commitment to, and investment in, the communities we serve. Dr. Chaudhuri’s work with Crime Survivors is a perfect demonstration of his passion for helping others, especially the truly vulnerable in our society.”
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KPC Group Announces Dr. John Heydt as Chief Clinical Officer of KPC Health and Chief Executive Officer of Apex Medical Group
CORONA, Calif., Aug. 06, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Today KPC announced the appointment of Dr. John A. Heydt as Chief Clinical Officer (CCO) of KPC Health and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Apex Medical Group, a subsidiary of the KPC Group. Dr. Heydt is a nationally renowned physician executive and has significant experience in the Southern California healthcare market.
Most recently, Dr. Heydt served as Chief Academic Officer of Borrego Health, where he established an affiliation between Hemet Valley Medical Center and Borrego. Prior to that, Dr. Heydt served as Senior Associate Dean of Clinical Affairs for UC Irvine School of Medicine and UC Riverside School of Medicine. He also served as CEO of the UC Riverside Health Medical Group.
Dr. Heydt has held a number of executive leadership roles, including CEO of Drexel University Physicians, Chief Quality Officer and Chair of Family, Preventive, and Community Medicine at Drexel University College of Medicine, Director of Urgent Care at UCLA Medical Center, and Chief Medical Officer at the Medical College of Pennsylvania Hospital. Dr. Heydt attended medical school at Temple University School of Medicine and completed his residency in Family Medicine at UCLA Medical Center. He is board certified in both Family Medicine and Sports Medicine.
“Dr. Heydt has an esteemed record and we are honored he has decided to join our team,” added Dr. Kali P. Chaudhuri, Founder and Chairman of the KPC Group and KPC Health. “His clinical and academic leadership experiences will enhance our rapidly growing health system to ensure we deliver the most advanced healthcare to the communities we serve.”
“As a physician executive, Dr. Heydt has just the kind of leadership skills and clinical expertise necessary to ensure our clinical operations meet the highest standards for our patients,” said Peter Baronoff, CEO of KPC Health. “He will be great asset to the KPC Health System and Apex Medical Group as we broaden access to specialty services.”
“I am thrilled to join the KPC Health system and look forward to contributing to a growing healthcare system,” said Dr. John A. Heydt, CCO of KPC Health and CEO of Apex Medical Group. “I am especially excited about the opportunity to work with some of the top physicians in Southern California.”
KPC Health owns and operates a group of integrated healthcare delivery systems consisting of acute care hospitals, Independent Physician Associations, medical groups, and various fully integrated multi-specialty medical facilities. KPC Health’s current system of hospitals includes seven full-service acute care hospitals located throughout southern California. In addition, KPC Health recently received court approval to acquire four California hospitals, and seven long-term acute care hospitals and two skilled nursing facilities located in Kansas, Utah, Mississippi, Arizona, Louisiana, and Texas. Once finalized, these acquisitions will bring KPC Health’s integrated healthcare system to 20 facilities nationally.
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Promise Hospitals in Baton Rouge sold to California company
Southern California health care business KPC Health has acquired Promise Hospital of Baton Rouge, a former subsidiary of Promise Healthcare, a Boca Raton, Florida-based hospital business.
Promise Healthcare Group’s hospital network across Louisiana was acquired several months after it filed for bankruptcy protection in 2018. The network was split between KPC Health and Lexmark Holdings.
The Boca Raton, Florida-based company specialized in short-term and long-term acute care hospitals in addition to skilled nursing facilities in several states. In March, KPC Health announced that it planned to acquire a hospital in Louisiana, but did not specify which one. Financial details about the sale were not disclosed, but KPC Health did secure a line of credit for working capital from international investment bank Credit Suisse Group AG, records show.
Since filing for bankruptcy in November 2018, the Promise Healthcare sold off three Florida hospitals to Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania Select Medical for $63 million. It also sold the 146-bed hospital in Shreveport along with its Bossier City hospital for roughly $35 million combined to Lexmark Holdings, records show.
Meanwhile, Santa Ana-based KPC Health has been on an acquisition spree, snapping up hospitals out of bankruptcy across the country in recent months. It had offered $610 million in a bid to buy a bankrupt chain of hospitals in California owned by Verity Health earlier this year and was awarded the deal in April. The deal to acquire the Baton Rouge hospital was lumped together with six other long-term acute care hospitals across the U.S. once run by Promise Healthcare.
Promise Hospital’s CEO for Baton Rouge, Kiley Cedotal, deferred questions to the new owners. Cedotal has been in the role since November 2014, according to his LinkedIn profile. KPC Health did not respond to requests for comment by late Wednesday.
Promise Healthcare had filed for bankruptcy with more than $500 million in corporate debt. The hospital struggled overall amid a nationwide decrease in reimbursement rate for Medicare patients, according to court records. Promise Hospital attempted to invest in new business projects, which were later abandoned, records show. By fiscal year 2016, it had posted a $5.2 million operating loss. One year later, that swelled to $25.2 million.
Financially its Louisiana hospitals were performing better than those in other states, Danny Brown, landlord for Promise Hospital’s Baton Rouge facilities told The Advocate in November. But the company faced some legal battles.
In 2016, Promise Hospital was accused of improperly billing Medicare for treatment of a rare protein deficiency known as Kwashiorkor by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ inspector general. Promise Hospital was also ordered to pay $1 million to Amerihealth Caritas Louisiana, a business which handles managed-care services for the state’s Medicaid program, over claims of double billing for services.
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KPC’s Chaudhuri Aims For Kaiser-Like Integration
KPC Group founder Kali Chaudhuri is attempting to do what a private capital firm, a nonprofit charity, and Los Angeles’ wealthiest person couldn’t—turn around a struggling regional hospital system.
The Business Journal reported last month that Chaudhuri’s KPC planned to pay $610 million to acquire assets of bankrupt Verity Holdings LLC, a Redwood City-based firm that owned four hospitals—including Lynwood’s St. Francis Medical Center, a 384-bed trauma center in L.A. County—and a nursing facility.
Chaudhuri’s plan to revitalize those facilities may be to give the unionized workers a chance to own part of the hospital, something he’s done with other hospitals he turned around in Orange County.
“I came to America with $8 in my pocket,” Chaudhuri told the Business Journal. “The reason I work hard in America is because I own my own business, and our employees will work hard because they are owners.”
The ownership plan for Verity won’t immediately be available, as KPC will initially focus on restructuring.
“I’d like the program to be everywhere, but we need to make sure we properly size things up and integrate; it cannot be done right away,” he said.
Chaudhuri, a native of India, started his career as an orthopedist in the Riverside County town of Hemet, 75 miles east of Irvine.
He has since built Riverside-based KPC Group into a firm with $10 billion in assets in disparate industries like real estate, pharmaceuticals and engineering.
A subsidiary, KPC Healthcare Inc., is making the Verity purchase and is based in Santa Ana.
KPC Healthcare currently includes seven full-service acute care hospitals throughout Southern California. Its four hospitals based in Orange County are Orange County Global Medical Center, South Coast Global Medical Center, Anaheim Global Medical Center and Chapman Global Medical Center, which generated revenue of $382 million in 2018 combined.
It also operates independent physician associations and various medical facilities such as skilled nursing, behavioral health and ambulatory care sites.
In addition to buying four OC hospitals via bankruptcy sales, Chaudhuri has also purchased Hemet Valley Medical Center, Menifee Valley Medical Center and Victor Valley Community Hospital in Victorville, now known as Victor Valley Global Medical Center.
He compares healthcare inefficiency to water being wasted during a rainstorm.
“The water coming from the sky should all fall in one bucket so we can use it, redistribute it and save it,” he said. “Unfortunately, a lot of water is wasted and that is the problem we are figuring out.”
About 30 hospitals close annually, according to the American Hospital Association.
Chaudhuri likens his healthcare company’s integration plans to that of Kaiser Permanente, which has its own hospitals, HMO health plan and physician employees.
He foresees KPC Healthcare including medical and nursing colleges, a pharmaceutical company, in addition to hospitals and nursing homes.
Integration “allows us to look at the whole dollar,” he said.
Along with the Verity assets, KPC also recently announced plans to acquire seven of Promise Healthcare Inc.’s long-term acute care hospitals and two skilled nursing facilities in states like Kansas, Utah and Texas.
That deal is expected to be completed by the end of this month, a spokesperson said.
When all of the acquisitions are completed, KPC’s healthcare system will be comprised of 18 hospitals, totaling over 2,500 beds, and three healthcare facilities across seven states.
The combined entity will have approximately 10,000 employees and an estimated value of over $2 billion.
“KPC has had a great history of turning around hospitals,” said KPC Healthcare Chief Executive Peter Baronoff, who joined the Santa Ana company last July.
Baronoff, who co-founded and previously served as chairman and chief executive of Florida- based Promise, said that the combination of hospitals, clinics and skilled nursing facilities will enable KPC to provide “a variety of services critical to the communities these hospitals serve.”
The Verity purchase looks likely to be KPC’s biggest-ever challenge, in terms of a turnaround.
The hospitals were previously owned by the Daughters of Charity Healthcare System, which had continuous losses due to “mounting labor costs, low reimbursement rates and the ever- changing healthcare landscape,” according to a bankruptcy filing.
It was sold in 2015 to private investor BlueMountain Capital Management LLC, which changed the hospital system’s name to Verity. In 2017, Nantworks, a company controlled by billionaire Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong, owner of the Los Angeles Times, acquired a controlling stake in Integrity Healthcare, the company that manages Verity.
Soon-Shiong poured tens of millions of dollars into the company to revitalize the hospitals, many of which are in lower-income neighborhoods. It reported a $111.4 million operating loss in 2018, triple that of the $35.3 million operating loss in 2017.
Last year, Verity went into bankruptcy and its assets were listed for sale. In April, an affiliate of KPC Healthcare won the bidding.
The transaction, which is still subject to review by the California Attorney General, is comprised of St. Francis Medical Center in Lynwood, St. Vincent Medical Center and St. Vincent Dialysis Center in downtown Los Angeles and Seton Medical Center in Daly City. The hospitals total 1,107 beds. Seton operates Seton Medical Center Coastside in Moss Beach, a 116-bed skilled nursing facility.
The biggest prize is the St. Francis Medical Center, which was valued at $420 million. It’s a Level II trauma center that handles more than 80,000 emergencies a year, according to its website. The purchase gives KPC two major trauma centers in Southern California.
As part of the agreement, KPC has agreed to keep main service lines open and make employment offers to substantially all employees at these facilities, including full-time, part- time and contract workers.
KPC’s pledge was important to its winning court-overseen bid.
“Labor is very important, [comprising] of 60% [of the cost] of the delivery of healthcare,” Chaudhuri said.
Chaudhuri declined to comment on taking on a task where others like Soon-Shiong didn’t succeed.
“I don’t buy everything that comes to the market, I only buy things that would create value for my organization,” he said.
Growing the base of medical workers is high on Chaudhuri’s priority.
In 2003, he established the first private medical school in Bengal, India, where he now has a 25- acre campus comprised of KPC Medical College and Hospital, as well as the Shova Rani Nursing College and Paramedical College that provides medical services to residents of the Indian city of Kolkata.
He’s excited about his latest education project—a new college in Hemet, where he resides with his wife, Sunanda.
“The most important thing in healthcare today is the shortage of doctors, nurses,” he said.
Demand for healthcare workers will outpace supply by 2025, and the U.S. will need to hire 2.3 million new healthcare workers to meet demand, according to a recent report by Mercer LLC.
While the Hemet project is in the early planning stage, Chaudhuri said the program he’s starting will encourage doctors and nurses to go to rural areas, where the rate of physicians to patients is 1-to-2,500 in rural America, according to National Rural Health Association estimate. –
“I have to tell you, I don’t have all the solutions and I don’t like to talk a lot before it happens, but I’d like to do my best,” Chaudhuri said.