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California non-profit to acquire MRMC

A California-based health-care foundation that touts itself for saving struggling hospitals has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Mission Regional Medical Center.


Prime Healthcare Foundation of Ontario, Calif., made the announcement jointly with Mission Regional Medical Center in a news release Wednesday. Though officials with both organizations have declined to provide financial details about the acquisition they said the deal is expected to close on July 1.



MRMC is a 297-bed facility with more than 1,000 employees. It opened in 1954 on Bryce Road in a facility that is now headquarters of the Mission Consolidated Independent School District. MRMC has been at its current Bryan Road location since 1987.


Prime Healthcare is the parent organization of the Prime Healthcare Foundation, which is exempt from federal income tax under section 501(c)(3) of Title 26 of the United States Code. Prime Healthcare operates 44 hospitals across the U.S. with 12 operating as non-profits by the Prime Healthcare Foundation.


Communication directors from both MRMC and Prime Health Care say the Mission facility will continue to be operated as a non-profit facility. The foundation also operates Knapp Medical Center in Weslaco and the Harlingen Medical Center.


According to the press release, the acquisition agreement includes a commitment from Prime Healthcare Foundation to maintain MRMC as an acute care hospital, strengthen physician recruitment and to provide a multimillion-dollar capital commitment over the next five years. Under the agreement Prime Healthcare will manage the hospital until the transaction closes.


According to its website, Prime Healthcare is dedicated to saving struggling hospitals and the jobs that go with them. The site provides several examples of hospitals the organization has saved including the first, which is now its flagship facility, Desert Valley Hospital in Victorville, Calif.


The site describes how Prime Healthcare’s founder and CEO, Dr. Prem Reddy, saved the hospital after it began faltering immediately after it was sold. In 2001 Reddy formed Prime Healthcare Services to re-purchase the hospital rescuing it from bankruptcy.


“From the lessons learned during the transformation of Desert Valley Hospital, Prime Healthcare’s model was established and now lead to the rescue and transformation of financially struggling community hospitals across the country,” the website states.


The acquisition comes several months after MRMC laid off 40 staff members and closed down its sexual assault forensics unit.


According the Prime Healthcare’s website the organization typically makes initial investments of newly acquired properties of $20 million in the first year and has invested approximately $1.1 billion on capital improvements since 2005.


The press release note MRMC is five-star rated for maternity care and nationally ranked in the top 10 percent in the nation for joint replacement while offering a full range of medical, surgical and emergency services.


Late last year MRMC’s board of directors had signed a letter of intent to be acquired by Doctors Hospital at Renaissance in Edinburg but in December and without explanation MRMC CEO Javier Iruegas announced discussions between the two entities were dropped.


“As a future member of Prime Healthcare Foundation family of hospitals, we look forward to continuing our dedicated service to our community with additional resources and support from an award winning health system,” Iruegas said. “We are confident this new partnership will help us enhance the quality of life in the Rio Grande Valley.”


“Mission Regional has provided high quality health care to residents of Hidalgo County and surrounding communities for more than 60 years,” Reddy said in the press release. “We recognize the hospital’s successes and will partner with physicians, nurses, employees and the community to preserve this valuable healthcare institution for generations to come.”

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