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Wednesday, June 19, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Hospital Districts Fight Over Quickie Clinics

VISTA, Calif. (CN) - Two Southern California hospital districts are fighting over one district's plan to build a series of quickie medical clinics inside Albertson's grocery stores. Tri-City Healthcare District claims Palomar Pomerado Healthcare District "wasted" public money by trying to expand into Tri-City's "sphere of influence" without approval of the San Diego County Local Agency Formation Commission.

Tri-City claims Palomar Pomerado's board of directors approved "the illegal expenditure of up to $200,000 for the design and establishment of three PPH 'expresscare' clinics to be located within Albertson's stores in the City of Oceanside, San Elijo Hills, and Temecula."

Tri-City calls Palomar Pomerado's move an "improper waste" of $200,000 in public funds.

According to the Superior Court complaint, "PPH describes these expresscare facilities as being 'walk-in care centers operated by Palomar Pomerado Health' that treat 'many common medical conditions.'"

Tri-City's planned expansion into Palomar's sphere of influence violates state law on Local Agency Formation Commissions, or LAFCOs, according to the complaint.

Tri-City says one of Palomar's clinics is to be built in Tri-City's service boundaries.

Tri-City says it sent a cease and desist letter to Palomar in February. It says that

Palomar did not respond but to Tri-City, but that Palomar spokesman Andy Hong told the North County Times that 'Tri-City can have its answer now: "No."'"

The North County Times reported that Palomar's chief operating officer said that the clinics "would likely be leased from Albertson's, meaning the Palomar would not own property outside its district."

Palomar then sent a letter to Tri-City stating that Palomar "would comply with all relevant and applicable laws," according to the complaint.

Tri-City wants Palomar enjoined from illegal expenditures of public funds, and costs.

Tri-City is represented by Walter Rusinek with Procopio, Cory, Hargreves & Savitch.

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