The American Hospital Association has appointed 22 members to a steering committee that will lead the organization's healthcare reform campaign. The group of hospital chief executives, physicians, trustees and employees will advise the AHA on tactics and strategies for the effort, which AHA executives have likened to a presidential campaign. The members of the committee, which is chaired by Scott Parker, chairman of Intermountain Health Care, Salt Lake City, include: Barbara Donaho, president and CEO of St. Anthony's Hospital, St. Petersburg, Fla.; Spencer Forman, M.D., president of Montefiore Medical Center, New York; and Larry Mathis, president and CEO of the Methodist Hospital System, Houston.
Jefferson Memorial Hospital in Crystal City, Mo., and Grim-Smith Hospital and Clinic in Kirksville, Mo., have agreed to affiliate with BJC Health System in St. Louis. The hospitals will have access to BJC's managed-care programs, its group purchasing contracts and its management consulting services, said Chris Little, a BJC spokesman. They remain independent facilities. The healthcare system is discussing various alliances with hospitals in the St. Louis area, Mr. Little said. He declined to comment on a St. Louis Business Journal report that said 357-bed Missouri Baptist Health System in Town and Country, Mo., is considering merging with BJC. BJC operates 13 hospitals and 3,113 beds in Missouri and Illinois.
Nashville, Tenn.-based PhyCor announced last week that it has reached an agreement in principle to acquire Lexington (Ky.) Clinic, a 125-physician multispecialty group practice, for $67 million in cash and stock. The transaction, which is pending formal agreements by the organizations' boards and approvals by various regulatory agencies, is the largest such acquisition for PhyCor. The company operates and manages 19 multispecialty medical clinics in 12 states.
The 13 West Virginia hospitals that sued Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Ohio, Cleveland, to recover unpaid claims related to the insolvency of a failed West Virginia Blues plan have agreed to settle the dispute. The hospitals agreed not to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to review last fall's federal appellate court ruling that reversed a jury award of $22.4 million against the insurer, which refused to cover the failed plan's liabilities (Oct. 11, 1993, p. 10). The hospitals also agreed to pay half of the $300,000 in legal fees spent by the insurer to appeal the verdict.
Reducing life-sustaining care for the terminally ill would cut healthcare costs at most by 3.3%, or about $33 billion, said a study published last week in the New England Journal of Medicine. The savings from reducing futile care and increasing the use of hospice care and living wills, among other steps, would be substantially less than popular estimates, said researchers at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School, both in Boston. One reason is that many estimates are based on Medicare data, which doesn't reflect the nation's population, they said.
A district court judge cleared the way for Humana to acquire the Group Health Association, a Washington-based HMO. Washington Superior Court Judge Steffan W. Graae said a lawsuit brought by dissident enrollees to block the sale was "without merit." The suit sought to void a 1993 referendum in which a majority of Group Health enrollees approved the HMO's sale to Louisville, Ky.-based Humana for $50 million. The HMO wanted to sell because of a worsening financial condition.
Community Health Systems, a Houston-based chain of 20 hospitals in 12 states, reported its net income for the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, 1993, rose 24% to $3.3 million, or 28 cents per share, compared with $2.7 million, or 24 cents per share, in the year-ago period. Revenues rose 33% to $65.3 million. For the year, the company reported a 19% hike in profits to $12.6 million, or $1.10 per share, compared with $10.6 million, or 95 cents per share, in the previous year. Revenues increased $235.9 million. The company added four hospitals in 1993.