BOSTON-Gov. William Weld has signed legislation that makes physicians and physician groups subject to determination-of-need laws. He also vetoed a bill that would have prevented hospitals from requiring members of their medical staffs to carry amounts of malpractice coverage higher than the requirements of the state Board of Registration in Medicine. The Massachusetts Hospital Association argued that the limitation would make hospitals liable for malpractice judgments in excess of a physician's policy limits. The association also lobbied in favor of the DON legislation, which closes a loophole allowing physicians to buy expensive new technology that hospitals couldn't buy without justifying need. The new law subjects physicians to state approval for positron emission tomography scanners, radiation therapy units and other innovative technology.
HERSHEY, Pa.-Penn State University's College of Medicine and Lehigh Valley Hospital in Allentown, Pa., have agreed to affiliate. Under the agreement, 830-bed Lehigh Valley will serve as the clinical campus for Penn State's Milton S. Hershey Medical Center. Lehigh Valley will share its clinical facilities, faculty and other resources with Penn State's medical students, residents and fellows. Although Hershey Medical Center is affiliated with other healthcare organizations for medical education purposes, the Lehigh Valley agreement will be the largest. Fourteen to 18 medical students will train at the hospital each month.
TRENTON, N.J.-Physicians Healthcare Plan of New Jersey, a for-profit corporation created to start a physician-owned and operated HMO in New Jersey, is preparing to sell shares of stock to the state's 17,400 practicing physicians. Each physician can only buy one share, which costs $5,000; a minimum of 3,000 physicians must invest in the plan to raise the $15 million it needs to begin operations. A feasibility study conducted last fall by the Garvey Group of Merrick, N.Y., found that 70% of the 699 physicians who either responded to a survey or were interviewed by telephone were interested in joining this type of HMO. More than 40% said they would invest $5,000 or more in such a plan. New Jersey physicians invested a total of $300,000 to conduct the feasibility study.