Prime Healthcare Blocked from Acquiring Hospital, Closure Imminent

FierceHealthcare | In a blow to hospital mergers, Prime Healthcare’s move to buy Victor Valley Community Hospital (VVCH) has been denied because the sale is “not in the public interest,” California Attorney General Kamala Harris decided yesterday.

After review, the AG determined the sale will significantly affect the availability or accessibility of healthcare services to the High Desert community.

This could signal the end for nonprofit VVCH, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy about a year ago. Just last month, CEO Catherine Pelley announced her plans to retire on Sept. 30 and to start shutting down the hospital if Prime’s deal hadn’t finalized, reports the Victorville Daily Press.

Prime Healthcare claims the rejection was influenced by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), which supported Harris’s election campaign. The SEIU also publicly criticized Prime’s operations, most recently for admitting an unusually high number of emergency Medicare patients to reap the financial benefits.

VVCH’s situation is not uncommon, as more hospitals are looking to merge or consolidate to manage rising healthcare costs and avoid closure.

But VVCH might not have to close its doors. KPC Global Care originally won the bid for VVCH last November and got AG approval but failed to finalize the deal by the May 31 deadline. KPC is still interested in buying the hospital, notes the Daily Press.

KPC has the funds needed to buy VVCH but hasn’t been in contact with the hospital since the deal collapsed, KPC Executive Vice President Bill Thomas told the Daily Press.


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