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Plymouth Health to purchase Alvarado Hospital

Plymouth Health, a newly formed physician-owned company, announced Friday that it has signed a definitive agreement to purchase Alvarado Hospital Medical Center in San Diego from a subsidiary of Tenet Healthcare Corp. (NYSE: THC).

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed by Plymouth, and the transaction will not conclude for 60 to 90 days, following completion of Plymouth’s due diligence and normal regulatory and closing requirements. Plymouth Health, based in Sherman Oaks, Calif., is a physician-owned company formed specifically to acquire and operate Alvarado Hospital Medical Center. The company will continue operating Alvarado as an acute care facility and maintain its 24-hour emergency room services.

Plymouth Health said it will offer employment to substantially all current employees in good standing, the organization said.

Plymouth Health’s principals include members of a family of physicians -- Pejman Salimpour, M.D., and Pedram Salimpour, M.D. -- who also own CareNex Health Services, a health care technology and client services organization specializing in business process outsourcing, disease management programs, and patient-physician communications services.

“We feel we can now put to rest any uncertainty about the hospital’s future,” said Pejman Salimpour. “Today marks the beginning of a new chapter for Alvarado, and we are pleased that we have been selected to continue the hospital’s mission of caring for patients in San Diego.”

Plymouth’s purchase of Alvarado Hospital Medical Center would ensure the hospital’s continued participation in state and federal health care reimbursement programs, including Medicare.

The sale or closure of Alvarado Hospital Medical Center was required by the San Diego United States Attorney’s office and the Office of Inspector General in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as part of a settlement agreement to end more than three years of prosecution of the hospital and its former chief executive officer regarding certain physician relocation agreements at the hospital. Tenet had said it would seek a qualified buyer to continue operating the hospital as an acute care facility by the government-mandated deadline of February 2007.

Pejman Salimpour, a practicing physician, is professor of clinical pediatrics at the UCLA School of Medicine and formerly served as the clinical chief of pediatrics at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. He also is a member of the National Latino Healthcare Task Force and was recently appointed to the National Advisory Council of the United States Small Business Administration.

Pedram Salimpour, a practicing physician, is the first person ever to have twice received the American College of Physicians’ Research Award. He currently serves as a member of the Board of Directors of the UCLA School of Public Health, the Board of Advisors of the University of California at Riverside, and is President-Elect of the Los Angeles County Medical Association (District 6).

Both Pejman Salimpour and Pedram Salimpour have received Commendations from the Governor of California for their “Distinguished Record of Service to California’s Children.”

The Salimpours also founded a not-for-profit organization called NexCare Collaborative. NexCare’s most notable project was First 5 LA Connect, which has helped more than 100,000 Los Angeles families with children learn more about or gain access to free or affordable health insurance and healthcare. The centerpiece of the program was a comprehensive helpline, professional call center and Web site.

Dr. Michael Butera, Alvarado’s chief of medical staff, said he was pleased with the agreement. “Regardless of the owners, the physicians have continued to strive to provide high-quality care to the patients at Alvarado,” Butera said. “The medical staff is enthusiastically looking forward to working with Drs. Pejman and Pedram Salimpour. We’re encouraged that they appreciate the value of a hospital like Alvarado and we will work with them to continue to serve its patients and the surrounding community.”

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