St. Mary Medical Center’s Offer To Purchase Victor Valley Community Hospital Receives Positive Community Response

By Nikki Garrett Metzger

(Victor Valley)- – St. Mary Medical Center in Apple Valley has submitted an offer to purchase the bankrupt Victor Valley Community Hospital. The offer was presented to the Board of Trustees on Monday, and they later contacted St. Mary’s to agree to move forward.

Alan H. Garrett, President and CEO of St. Mary Medical Center in Apple Valley, said in a statement released Tuesday, “We have decided, with the support of the St. Joseph Health System, to offer to purchase the hospital for $35 million with a pledge of $25 million in capital improvements over the next five years.”

Randy Bevilacqua, Vice President of the Communication and Strategic Services Department at St Mary’s explained the motivation behind the offer, “Victor Valley Community Hospital takes care of a significant portion of poor and vulnerable in the High Desert and we felt that those beds could not close for that reason.”

“Also, we needed to find a way to expand to serve our patient population because we are at or near capacity most of the time. Our intent is to operate it as St. Mary Medical Center, just two locations,” Bevilacqua added.

The beleaguered Victor Valley Community Hospital (VVCH) filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in September 2010, and shortly thereafter 26 employees were laid off. Officials claimed the State of California owed them over $2 million in Medi-Cal reimbursements.

Prime Healthcare, which owns Desert Valley Hospital, made two separate offers to purchase VVCH: one before the bankruptcy filing which did not make it past the auction block; and a second bid for $35 million that was denied by the State Attorney General.

KPC Global also made a bid against Prime Healthcare to purchase VVCH for $37 million, however they did not complete the purchase in the time allotted.

Bevilacqua said that St. Mary’s now enters a 60-90 period of due diligence and the sale has to go to through bankruptcy court and it still needs to be approved by the Attorney General.

“Since the offer has become public we’ve had a lot of community support in favor of this, which we are very pleased with,” Bevilacqua said.

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