*The only two hospitals in Port Huron, Mich., signed a "memorandum of understanding" to seek federal and state approval to merge into one corporation under one local board and executive staff. The 197-bed Port Huron Hospital and 119-bed Mercy Hospital are pursuing the formation of a local system that would be affiliated with Farmington Hills, Mich.-based Mercy Health Services, the owner of Mercy, and St. John Health System in Detroit. Port Huron is a freestanding hospital. Executives from the hospitals and parent systems said they will resolve regulatory, legal and financial details in the next six to 12 months.
*Health Midwest plans to acquire Park Lane Medical Center, a 75-bed osteopathic hospital in Kansas City, Mo. The combination, expected to be completed in 90 days, won't involve an exchange of cash. The move will give Kansas City, Mo.-based Health Midwest a total of 13 hospitals and 1,864 staffed beds. However, the system doesn't expect its market share, now at 25% of the 10-county Kansas City area, to change noticeably, a spokesman said. Park Lane estimated that its final 1993 earnings will be $927,000 on net patient revenues of $26.2 million.
*Another step toward a Roman Catholic hospital network was taken last week by 11 Chicago-area hospitals, which have more than 3,600 beds. The hospitals have hired the management consulting firm of Deloitte & Touche to help them develop a strategic plan for network development, according to the Catholic Health Alliance of Metropolitan Chicago, which represents the 20 Catholic hospitals in Illinois' Cook and Lake counties. Some 17 Chicago-area Catholic hospitals participated in an earlier feasibility study with KPMG Peat Marwick (Nov. 1, 1993, p. 8). But so far, only 11 have decided to pursue the network.
*New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani said he intends to turn over four of the city's 16 public hospitals to private governance boards within the next two years. Day-to-day operations would be assigned to a private management company, medical school or some other private interest, he said. During his campaign for mayor, Mr. Giuliani suggested privatizing at least two facilities now operated by New York City Health and Hospitals Corp., but he hadn't specified a timetable.
*The nation's blood supply rallied back last week from its lowest point since World War II, the American Red Cross said. Healthcare providers were forced to postpone surgeries as 40 cities in 21 states reported "critical" shortages with less than one day's supply of blood at their facilities. "We're back to about two days' blood supply*.*.*.*the optimal level is three, but we're coming out of our bad period," said Liz Hall, an American Red Cross spokeswoman. January typically is a low blood-supply month because of cold weather, but last month's sub-zero temperatures and injuries from the Los Angeles earthquake amplified the problem.
*Integrated Health Services said it has completed a deal with Crestwood Hospitals of California, Stockton, to manage 14 of its long-term-care facilities and nine of its psychiatric facilities. Terms of the deal weren't disclosed. The move falls in line with IHS' strategy to increase its subacute presence within strategic geographic locations. Owings Mills, Md.-based IHS provides long-term care and subacute-care services through 135 facilities and 17,700 beds in 25 states.
*Sheldon S. King, 62, former president and chief executive officer of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, is scheduled to join Salick Healthcare this week as an executive vice president. A Salick spokeswoman said Mr. King will be directing various special projects for the Los Angeles-based company, which operates cancer treatment and kidney dialysis centers nationally. He also will assist the company in its development and expansion of new business. After five years in the top post at Cedars, Mr. King last month announced his departure from the 900-bed hospital to pursue "new career objectives" (Jan. 10, p. 16).
*Hawaii Gov. John Waihee has urged the state Legislature to reform the Hawaiian healthcare system by creating a statewide healthcare alliance and providing financial relief for employers, who are required by law to provide healthcare coverage for employees working more than 20 hours each week. Mr. Waihee said such an alliance would help the state control healthcare costs, reduce employer contributions by asking workers to make larger contributions and build purchasing clout with health insurers. John C. Lewin, M.D., Hawaii's director of health, said recently he's been working with Hawaii's major healthcare organizations to write legislation that would establish a public-private healthcare system offering consumer choice and high-quality preventive medicine (Dec. 13, 1993, p. 14).
*An early repayment of debt gave Hallmark Healthcare Corp. a huge increase in profits for its second quarter ended Dec. 31, 1993. The 17-hospital chain reported net income of $20.4 million, or $5.43 per share, compared with net income of $1.7 million, or 51 cents per share, in the year-ago period. Profits reflected an extraordinary gain of $19.8 million, or $5.26 per share, for the early repayment of bank debt. The company financed the $72.8 million repayment through an $80 million bond issue in December. Atlanta-based Hallmark reported revenues rose 10% to $47.9 million. For the six months, Hallmark reported net income of $22.5 million, or $5.98 per share, compared with net income of $2.2 million, or 65 cents per share, in the year-ago period. Revenues grew 12% to $95.3 million.
*QualMed and privately held HN Management Holdings last week completed their merger to form a company that will be called Health Systems International. HN Management operates the second-largest HMO in California, Health Net, Woodland Hills, Calif. Health Systems said it began trading on the New York Stock Exchange under Pueblo, Colo.-based QualMed's stock symbol "MQ."
*Health insurer Humana said for the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, 1993, it earned $29 million,