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A group of San Gabriel Valley physicians and hospitals have submitted a bid to open an urgent care and health center on the site of the shuttered Pacific Alliance Medical Center in Chinatown.

Chinatown’s only hospital closed last December after 157 years, prompting alarm from the surrounding community, which includes thousands of Asian seniors who had grown to rely on the facility. Activist groups and seniors have been lobbying politicians and investors to reopen the hospital.

The property’s owner, La Societe Francaise De Bienfaisance Mutuelle De Los Angeles, put the land up for sale in January. The society’s vice president, Gary Wilfert, said its officials will choose from among the highest bidders, the Los Angeles Times reported Monday.

The physicians group, Allied Pacific, proposes a 24-hour urgent care facility that will also include specialty clinics for cardiology, ophthalmology, diabetes, high blood pressure and congestive heart failure, as well as a health center for seniors, according to The Times. Allied Pacific is partnering on the bid with AHMC Healthcare, which operates five hospitals in the San Gabriel Valley and one in Orange County.

The proposal won’t require much renovation, said Allied Pacific Chairman Kenneth Sim, according to The Times. And reclassifying the facility as an urgent care center that has no overnight patient population could reduce the costs of earthquake retrofitting, he said.

Chinatown seniors appealed to the physicians group for help after the hospital closed, Sim said, according to The Times.

“`The Chinatown community wanted an option to keep the facility open to serve healthcare needs,” Sim said.

Although there are multiple hospitals in the area that have absorbed the patients affected by Pacific Alliance Medical Center’s closure, Chinatown still needs its own medical facility, said Dr. Paul Chu, a general internist who practices in the neighborhood, according to The Times.

“That hospital served as a safety net for the community,” he said, adding that other hospitals won’t be able to cater to the cultural and language requirements of Chinatown’s seniors, who speak several different dialects of Chinese. More than 2,000 Asian seniors reside in Chinatown, which has one of the most senior populations of any neighborhood in the county.

—City News Service

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