July 15, 2012 1:00 PM
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Tomoya Shimura, Staff Writer

Prime Healthcare Services, which owns Desert Valley Hospital, has recently bought four distressed out-of-state hospitals after the California Attorney General denied its deal to purchase Victor Valley Community Hospital.

The medical group bought:

• Harlingen Medical Center in Texas in December;

• Roxborough Memorial Hospital in Pennsylvania in February;

• Pampa Regional Medical Center in Texas in June; and

• Saint Mary’s Regional Medical Center in Nevada in July.

Founded by local resident Dr. Prem Reddy in 2001, Prime now operates 18 hospitals in four states.

“We have figured out that we have … through years of experience the best practices to financially turn around these hospitals while increasing the standards of health care,” Prime spokesman Edward Barrera said.

He said Saint Mary’s Regional Medical Center lost $43.5 million last fiscal year and 1,600 employees could have lost their jobs. The hospital currently employs 1,500, Barrera said.

When VVCH went bankrupt and began searching for a new owner, VVCH management had openly stated that the hospital and Prime were in mutual agreement to pursue a purchase plan. But Attorney General Kamala Harris denied Prime’s proposed $35 million purchase, stating in a short release that it’s not in the public interest.

VVCH recently agreed to a purchasing offer by Riverside-based KPC Global medical group, who had once failed to close out a deal.

“Dr. Prem Reddy … was asked to save the hospital by the Victor Valley Community Hospital board of directors as well as urged to do so by concerned lawmakers and residents,” Barrera said. “As a longtime resident of the High Desert, his only concern was and still is to make sure that Victor Valley stays open, becomes financially stable and provides high quality health care to the High Desert community. That was his only goal at the beginning and that remains his only goal now. Nothing has changed.”

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