Whittle Communications last week launched its Medical News Network. The company says it will install interactive desktop systems in the offices of 50,000 physicians as well as 4,000 managed-care and corporate benefit executives during the next 30 months. It also plans to install 12,500 satellite dishes and servers in medical buildings. The Knoxville, Tenn.-based company spent $100 million on a one-year pilot of the service, which delivers interactive news to physicians. The service has been financed primarily by pharmaceutical companies. The network will add an on-line library of clinical studies, directories and data for physicians.
Columbia/HCA Healthcare Corp., Louisville, Ky., has awarded $220 million in supply contracts to several different suppliers. The contracts, which will go into effect between March and June, will save the 192-hospital chain about $60 million annually, officials said. Contracts include deals with Johnson & Johnson, New Brunswick, N.J.; E.I. duPont de Nemours, Wilmington, Del.; Bristol-Myers Squibb, New York; and Medline Industries, Mundelein, Ill. Glen Allen, Va.-based Owens & Minor was awarded a medical/surgical distribution contract.
Medical Imaging Centers of America reported a net loss for the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, 1993, of $25.1 million, or $2.12 per share, compared with a net loss of $15.3 million, or $1.30 per share, during the year-ago period. Revenues dropped 26% to $15.8 million. For the year, MICA reported a net loss of $29.6 million, or $2.51 per share, compared with a net loss of $20.3 million, or $1.72 per share, in 1992. Revenues dropped 19% to $68.8 million. Antone J. Lazos, MICA's chairman and chief executive officer, said the company decided it would take a large writeoff this year instead of continuing to take smaller writeoffs in future accounting periods. As a result, MICA took a noncash charge of $21.5 million to write off goodwill. San Diego-based MICA provides medical imaging services to hospitals and physicians.
Quorum Health Resources has awarded a five-year contract, valued at $7 million, to Milwaukee-based Johnson Controls. The company will provide Quorum hospitals with construction and renovation services for heating, ventilating and air-conditioning systems. The contract also covers energy, fire, security, lighting and maintenance-management systems. Brentwood, Tenn.-based Quorum Health Resources operates 189 hospitals with almost 22,000 staffed beds, according to MODERN HEALTHCARE's 1993 Multi-unit Providers Survey.
Voluntary Hospitals of America has awarded a three-year contract to KCI Therapeutic Services to supply specialty beds to alliance hospitals. The contract is valued at $120 million. KCI, a division of San Antonio, Texas-based Kinetic Concepts, makes beds that are used to prevent and treat pressure sores. Irving, Texas-based VHA represents 950 healthcare facilities.
Florida has submitted an application to HCFA for a waiver that would allow the state to use existing federal and state Medicaid funds to extend health insurance to about 1.1 million uninsured residents. Gov. Lawton Chiles' proposed health program, which is under review in the state Legislature, would provide private insurance premium discounts to uninsured residents who earn less than $17,425 a year. Currently, Florida provides Medicaid services to about 1 million recipients at an annual state and federal cost of $7 billion.
Deerfield, Ill.-based Baxter International has acquired a Brazilian company that makes blood oxygenators and mechanical heart valves. The company, Macchi Engenharia Biomedica, based in Sao Paulo, has yearly net sales of about $12 million. Terms of the acquisition weren't disclosed. Baxter's Bentley division is a leading provider in the $500 million market for cardiopulmonary products.