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Alvarado Hospital could shut down

Federal regulators may bar Alvarado Hospital from treating Medicare patients, because of allegations of kickbacks to doctors. The hospital may have to shut down if that happens. KPBS Reporter Kenny Goldberg looks at the possible ripple effects.

The loss of Alvarado could have a major impact on San Diego's healthcare system.

Steve Escoboza heads up the San Diego County Hospital Association. He says Alvarado treats about 40 percent of all East County Medicare patients who need hospitalization. What's more, he says Alvarado's E-R department takes care of a quarter of all County residents who seek emergency care.

We would not want to see Alvarado closed. I think we believe that that facility at Alvarado is absolutely necessary.

Officials at Alvarado have 30 days to persuade federal regulators not to bar them from treating Medicare patients. If their effort fails, they could appeal to an administrative law judge. Kenny Goldberg, KPBS News.

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