November 23, 2011 2:36 PM
Tomoya Shimura
Staff Writer

VICTORVILLE • A Victorville judge on Wednesday denied the California Attorney General’s attempt to prevent Prime Healthcare Services from helping keep bankrupt Victor Valley Community Hospital open.

Attorney General Kamala Harris filed a motion in Victorville Superior Court to impose a preliminary injunction against a $6 million financing and consulting agreement between VVCH and Prime. VVCH officials said loans from Prime will allow the hospital to stay open.

Harris claimed in a brief that the agreement was intended for the hospital to avoid her oversight and transfer its governance to Prime.

But Victorville Superior Court Judge Steve Malone dismissed her argument Wednesday, saying VVCH hired Prime as an independent contractor and its major decisions still require the hospital board’s approval.

VVCH, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, has been looking for a buyer since last year. Prime offered to buy the hospital for $35 million, but Harris denied the deal stating it’s “not in the public interest.”

Harris argued in the brief that the agreement would put two Victorville hospitals — Desert Valley Hospital and VVCH — under the control of Prime, which she claims has the practice of canceling HMO contracts. The AG further alleged that the loans from Prime will keep potential buyers away from VVCH.

However, Malone said the AG lacked evidence to prove such claims.

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