SAN GABRIEL – A local hospital group says it will buy the ailing San Gabriel Valley Medical Center, which has been on the market since September. AHMC Healthcare Inc. has signed a non-binding exclusive letter of intent with Catholic Healthcare West, which owns the 273-bed facility. “There is every intent to continue to run the hospital as is,” said Dr. Stanley Toy, a spokesman for the group. The letter is the culmination of CHW’s search to find a buyer who will “commit to preserving health care services in the community, including acute care, emergency services and care for those who cannot afford to pay for it,” the company said in a statement. It is owned by Jonathan Wu, who serves as chairman of the board. San Marino Mayor Matthew Lin, also a physician, is vice chairman. Details of the agreement have not been finalized, Toy said. It is also unclear whether the San Gabriel Valley Medical Center will continue to offer the same services or continue labor contracts. “AHMC has met with representatives from the unions to start dialogue,” Toy said. “We plan to continue this very amicable dialogue to ensure the concerns of both sides are addressed.” The industry has seen better days, said Jim Lott, executive vice president of the Hospital Association of Southern California. Payment rates from private insurers and the government are low, with Medical reimbursing about 65 cents on the dollar, Lott said. In areas with high immigrant populations, possibly one in three patients are uninsured. To cut costs, new owners can revise contracts with insurers, said Lott, who is not familiar with CHW-AHMC discussions. [email protected] (626) 578-6300, Ext. 4586 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! The hospital was put up for sale after several years of operating at a loss, officials said then. After a final agreement is reached, the transaction must be reviewed by the California Attorney General’s Office. The process can take up to 120 days. If approved, the purchase will enhance the hospital group’s dominance in the area. AHMC Inc. was formed in 2004 after the purchase of four hospitals from Tenet Healthcare Corporation: Garfield Medical Center, Monterey Park Hospital, Whittier Medical Center and Greater El Monte Community Hospital. The group is affiliated with Alhambra Hospital Medical Center and the Doctors’ Hospital Medical Center in Montclair.