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Brown Act lawsuit dropped against Palomar Health

The lawsuit filed several months ago by “Citizens to Save Palomar Health” against Palomar Health is being dropped by the group, according to a press release from the hospital district.

That the lawsuit was dropped was confirmed in a phone call by The Times-Advocate to a member of “Citizens.” 

Wednesday’s press release by Palomar Health stated, “The baseless lawsuit lacked facts, merit and was blatantly and obviously a smear campaign. According to public filings, through the lawsuit, Citizens to Save Palomar Health attempted to prevent doctors from Emergent Medical Associates—who Palomar’s current publicly-elected Board had selected after a competitive bidding process—from staffing Palomar’s Emergency Department, thereby threatening patient safety and continuity of care.”

The statement continued, “Citizens to Save Palomar Health seemed to be comprised of aggrieved former Palomar Directors who had lost their seats in public elections and a plaintiffs’ lawyer who filed the lawsuit in August. Citizens to Save Palomar Health falsely alleged the healthcare district violated the Brown Act when it awarded key emergency, hospitalist, and intensivist contracts to Emergent Medical Associates this year for staffing at Palomar’s hospitals in Escondido and Poway. Palomar’s current, publicly-elected board selected EMA after a competitive bidding process.”

In response to the dropping of the lawsuit, Palomar Health CEO Diane Hansen issued this statement: “Palomar Health is relieved to move past this frivolous lawsuit, so that it can focus on its primary mission: providing the highest quality healthcare to the community of San Diego and beyond.” 

According to the district, “The move to install Emergent Medical Associates has already resulted in significant improvements at Palomar Health, including a reduction in Emergency Department patient wait times of over 30%, a reduction in patient complaints, and improved health and safety metrics across the board, contrary to the lawsuit’s filings, which took thousands of dollars to defend as well as time and resources.”

The Citizens lawsuit had claimed that the district violated the Brown Act when it voted to hire Emergent Medical Associates. The hospital district  said that the withdrawal of the lawsuit confirms what they had always said, that “in fact Palomar Health’s decision to hire Emergent Medical Associates derived from a fair, legal, and open process.”

 For more information on Palomar Health, visit PalomarHealth.org.

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