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MEDICAL : Doctors Buy San Clemente Hospital, Rename it Samaritan Medical Center

Compiled by Leslie Berkman, Times staff writer

The $23-million sale of San Clemente General Hospital to a group of staff doctors was completed Friday, more than a year after they launched a bid to buy the 116-bed general acute-care facility from a bankrupt hospital chain.

In one of their first moves, the new owners changed the hospital’s name to Samaritan Medical Center-San Clemente.

Purchase of the hospital from American Healthcare Management of Dallas was accomplished by PACE, or Physician Associates Committed to Excellence, a group of 67 local physicians who each put up $50,000 in cash to help finance the transaction.

The biggest share of financing for the acquisition was provided by Cigna Insurance Co., said David Gordon, vice president of John Nuveen & Co. Inc., a Chicago investment banker that represented PACE in its negotiations with AHM.

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As soon as the sale closed Friday, administration of the hospital was turned over to Samaritan Health Services, a subsidiary of Phoenix-based Samaritan Foundation. Samaritan Health Services has contracted with PACE to operate it as a nonprofit facility.

Vince Townsend, who previously was an associate administrator of Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center in Phoenix, on Friday became the San Clemente hospital’s chief executive officer.

Townsend said one of his priorities would be to upgrade the hospital’s emergency room, as state health officials have requested. He said he will submit to the state within 60 days a plan that details how and when the improvements will be made.


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