Robert Lovingood

Supervisor testifies before panel on much debated sale

Posted Jan. 5, 2015 @ 5:40 pm
Updated Jan 5, 2015 at 5:42 PM

Testifying before a state Attorney General’s panel Monday in Lynwood, San Bernardino County 1st District Supervisor Robert Lovingood expressed support for Ontario-based Prime Healthcare’s proposed acquisition of six struggling nonprofit hospitals.

“Dr. (Prem) Reddy and his company have created 35,000 jobs and have saved a number of failing hospitals in the past,” Lovingood said, according to his office. “Dr. Reddy has also been an extremely generous friend to many High Desert civic and charitable groups.”

In a separate letter to Attorney General Kamala Harris, Lovingood repeated his praise for Prime’s ability to transform struggling hospitals. Harris is expected to make a decision on whether to approve the sale of the Catholic hospitals in the Daughters of Charity Health System by early February.

The six hospitals have been losing $10 million a month since January 2014, officials said.

The hearing Monday in Lynwood was one of a series to be held this week in communities served by the hospitals, including Los Angeles, San Jose and Gilroy.

None of the hospitals are in the High Desert.

The potential sale, a polarizing and political debate, has been scrutinized by SEIU-United Healthcare Workers, which have led the charge against the acquisition, preferring another bidder, Blue Wolf Capital, instead.

SEIU-UHW President Dave Regan told the Daily Press last month that Prime was an “extremely flawed company” that will stop at nothing to acquire a hospital, only to then quickly renege on its promises.

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