Upstart CA hospital chain buys another facility

Controversial California hospital chain Prime Healthcare Services--known for unusual business practices such as canceling all insurance contracts whenever it buys a facility--has added another hospital to its rapidly-growing empire. The Victorville, CA-based chain has acquired Centinela Freeman HealthSystem's 369-bed Centinela hospital, a struggling Los Angeles facility sapped by indigent care loads after the closure of nearby King-Harbor Medical Center. Prime, which is poised to buy several more Southern California hospitals, has bought six hospitals there over the last two years alone. It recently lost a bid to pick up non-profit Anaheim Memorial Medical Center when state authorities refused to let it go through; officials argued that there were improprieties in the bidding process.

Prime's ascent has been marked by much criticism, particularly due to its practice of canceling health plan contracts to collect higher out-of-network fees from patients. It's also taken fire for suspending not-so-lucrative services like chemotherapy, mental health and birthing centers and allegedly refusing service to uninsured patients. Meanwhile, several former employees have successfully sued owner Dr. Prem Reddy and his current and former companies after they were fired for raising concerns over Prime's financial practices and patient safety issues.

To learn more about Prime:
- read this Los Angeles Times article

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