Kern County Hospital Authority Sued over Public Funds Usage

Kern County Hospital Authority Sued over Public Funds Usage

A lawsuit is moving forward against the Kern County Hospital Authority and the private institution they operate, Kern Medical Surgery Center LLC.

Kern Medical staff and their union are calling for transparency. The lawsuit alleges taxpayer dollars are going to the LLC without properly being disclosed in violation of the Brown Act and the California Public Records Act.

In a hearing on Tuesday at the Kern Courthouse, the lawsuit was allowed to move forward into the discovery phase.

Attorney representing SEIU Local 521 Alexander Nazarov says it’s not illegal for the Hospital Authority to operate a private institution so long as it can be rationally justified, but Nazarov says the LLC offers boutique services like plastic surgery which is not in line with Kern Medical’s mission to help the indigent population. So Nazarov argues the LLC is subject to public disclosure laws.

Kern Medical Clinical Nurse George Pfister says the LLC is taking resources that should be going to helping low-income residents.

Kern Medical declined to comment.