For all of their professional careers, Drs. Pejman and Pedram Salimpour following their father's example could never resist helping a sick child.


So it wasn't totally startling that one of the San Fernando Valley's best known physician families decided to take the case of Tenet Healthcare Corp.'s ailing Alvarado Hospital, which the brothers purchased for $22.5 million on Jan. 1.


Never mind that the pediatrician brothers have never owned a hospital before, or that San Diego-based Alvarado is more than 140 miles from the medical practice their father established in the Valley when the family fled Iran in the early 1980s after the revolution there.


"If it closes it will affect thousands of people, so its success will not only be a business success for us but a personal one," said Pejman Salimpour, 45, a former clinical chief of pediatrics at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, who juggles a patient load and a teaching role as a professor of clinical pediatrics at UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine.


The brothers won't find it easy to turn around the 306-bed Alvarado, which lost more than $3 million in 2005 and was the subject of a three-year federal probe into charges that some doctors were paid kickbacks for referring patients to the hospital. Two trials related to the case ended in hung juries, but Tenet was forced to sell the hospital as part of a government settlement.


Every other major hospital operator in town passed on making a serious bid when Tenet put it on the market last June. The Salimpour brothers made a few casual inquiries and believed it was a potential diamond in the rough.


They formed Plymouth Health and came forward with their offer, backed by group of private investors led by Los Angeles-based Omninet Capital LLC., whose co-founder Parviz Nazarian is Pejman Salimpour's father-in-law.


"I think Tenet knew that not only did we have the resources to keep the hospital open but also have the sophistication," said Pedram Salimpour. "As physicians who have lived in hospitals all our lives, we understand what doctors need in order to practice medicine."


Plymouth is the first health care industry investment for Omninet, which is better known for its early investment in the San Diego-based wireless communications giant Qualcomm Inc. But Ben Nazarian, Parviz Nazarian's son and another Omninet principal, said the Salimpours had more to offer than family ties when they approached his firm.

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