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Pacific Hospital of Long Beach has made its first comments to The Bee since the paper began asking last week about its business relationship with the brother of state Sen. Ron Calderon, whose Capitol offices were searched by the FBI last week.

"Pacific Hospital of Long Beach has no direct knowledge of the recent scrutiny of Ron Calderon and his immediate family members. Commenting would be speculative and inappropriate," says the statement from Laura Salas Reyes, the hospital's director of public relations.

The statement goes on to say that Pacific Hospital executives will have nothing more to say in response to The Bee's inquiries, as "it remains focused - as always - on providing the highest quality medical care to its patients."

Tom Calderon listed Pacific Hospital of Long Beach as a client of his consulting business when he filed an economic statement of interest last year as part of his unsuccessful run for state Assembly. Also last year, on a campaign flier, he described serving on the hospital's board of directors.

Pacific Hospital of Long Beach has declined to answer The Bee's questions about its relationship with Tom Calderon, and his lawyer did not return a call from The Bee on Wednesday.

The hospital is known for performing spine surgeries for California workers compensation patients, and was the subject of a Wall Street Journal story last year that raised questions about the large amount it billed for performing back surgeries on injured workers - three times more than any other hospital in the state. The FBI raided Pacific Hospital of Long Beach in April searching for "evidence of criminal allegations," the FBI told The Bee.



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