American Medical International has recruited the president of Hospital Corporation of America's largest hospital to head AMI's Houston operations.
Jim Biltz, who has been president of HCA Wesley Medical Center, a 760-bed teaching hospital in Wichita, Kan., for the past six years, will move to Houston next month to become chief executive officer of AMI-Houston. The position is a new one. He also will become president of AMI Park Plaza Hospital, a position that has been vacant for about 10 months.
"They were very persistent," Mr. Biltz said about AMI's recruitment. When asked about his departure just before HCA's megamerger with Columbia Healthcare Corp., he said, "Maybe there would be some opportunities there, maybe not. A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush."
Mr. Biltz has brought in Judy Novak to be chief operating officer of AMI Park Plaza. Ms. Novak, formerly CEO of HCA Center for Health Excellence, a 479-bed institution in Houston, was the highest-ranking woman in HCA before she abruptly quit in October without saying what her plans would be (Oct. 11, 1993, p. 56).
Ms. Novak succeeded Mr. Biltz in 1983 as CEO of Woman's Hospital, which was later merged into HCA Center for Health Excellence. He had been CEO there since 1978, when HCA bought the facility.
Mr. Biltz's job will be to build AMI's network in Houston, where it operates two hospitals with 844 beds. "Our objective is to expand our market share, but we're not in a bed race in Houston," said Randy Smith, AMI's executive vice president of operations when asked about AMI's acquisition intentions. However, Mr. Biltz will look at possible hospital and ambulatory-care acquisitions as well as pursue managed-care contracts, he said.
HCA Wesley will soon be merged into Columbia Healthcare Corp. when the merger between Louisville, Ky.-based Columbia and Nashville, Tenn.-based HCA is completed next month. Wesley recently laid off 280 employees, or about 9% of its work force, because of declining patient lengths of stay (Oct. 4, 1992, p. 46).-Sandy Lutz