Healthcare Business News

Regional News/West: Universal Health buys Ascend Health for $517 million, and other news

By Modern Healthcare
Posted: October 13, 2012 - 12:01 am ET

SANTA TERESA, N.M.—Universal Health Services, King of Prussia, Pa., has completed its $517 million acquisition of behavioral health firm Ascend Health Corp., New York, after agreeing to sell off a New Mexico facility to resolve antitrust concerns raised by the Federal Trade Commission. Under the conditions that regulators imposed, UHS has six months to find an FTC-approved buyer for its Peak Behavioral Health Services. Ascend operates University Behavioral Health in nearby El Paso, Texas, and the FTC argued that the deal between the two providers would create a “virtual monopoly” in the region that would allow UHS to negotiate higher rates with commercial insurers. In a news release, UHS said Peak had $9 million in revenue for the six-month period ended June 30. If UHS fails to find a buyer in the given time frame, the FTC could require it to divest a second facility, Mesilla Valley Hospital, Las Cruces, N.M., along with Peak. Ascend operates nine inpatient psychiatric facilities in five states, and the acquisition is expected to generate about $200 million in revenue for UHS. Separately, UHS also said it completed its sale of 120-bed Auburn (Wash.) Regional Medical Center to MultiCare Health System, Tacoma, Wash. The $98 million deal closed Oct. 1.

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SACRAMENTO, Calif.—The California Primary Care Association launched a Patient-Centered Health Home initiative with a long-term goal of getting each of the association's 900 member sites recognized for providing timely, consistent and coordinated care. Partnering with the California group are the National Committee for Quality Assurance; Burlington, Mass.-based consulting firm Arcadia Solutions; and Azara Healthcare, a data analytics firm that Arcadia co-founded. The initiative was piloted for more than a year with 150 providers, according to a news release. Nationwide, the NCQA has recognized 4,722 sites as patient-centered medical homes. The release notes that the initiative “is built on the NCQA PCMH 2011 Standards.” The four “building blocks” of the initiative are an online portal developed to help members to follow the NCQA implementation road map, customized quality-improvement coaching for practices, online training and Azara's data-management and analytics tool.

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