SAN ANTONIO, Texas-University Health System, formerly known as Bexar County Hospital District, and Baptist Memorial Hospital System jointly will operate an air ambulance system. The partnership will begin operating Texas AirLife San Antonio in July. Baptist has had an air ambulance system since 1991 but had wanted to add a second helicopter, executives said. University Health System, a tax-supported hospital system, will contribute the helicopter to the venture. Operational costs of the partnership will be shared between the two hospital systems.
ST. LOUIS-A group of 29 physicians has bought Deaconess Medical Center North, shuttered since last spring, for $1 million. Investors plan to reopen the 198-bed facility as a for-profit hospital. They will file a certificate-of-need application later this month, said Michael Spezia, D.O., a former hospital board member who's leading the group. The hospital's former owner, Metropolitan Medical Center, closed the financially troubled osteopathic hospital when its occupancy rate fell to 23% (Feb. 15, 1993, p. 18). Its closure and the closure of nearby 194-bed Central Medical Center left the suburban community of Normandy, Mo., short of services for intensive, emergency and primary care, Dr. Spezia said. Central Medical has reopened as a primary-care center (Oct. 18, 1993, p. 24). Deaconess will operate as Normandy Hospital. Investors now are seeking $4 million to renovate the hospital and finance its startup, Dr. Spezia said.
LITTLE ROCK, Ark.-Arkansas plans to move its 262,000 Medicaid recipients into a managed-care program this summer. Last month, the state began experimenting with a managed-care program for the 80,000 Medicaid recipients who also receive Aid to Families with Dependent Children. Arkansas received a waiver from standard Medicaid regulations late last spring so it could implement the program. Under its approach, patients select a single physician to provide their primary care, said Kenny Whitlock, who heads Medicaid for the Arkansas Department of Human Services. The program is meant to ensure that Medicaid recipients have a regular physician available. "The target is utilization and access," Mr. Whitlock said. "It's not about savings." The department estimates the managed-care program will save at least $1.2 million out of an annual Medicaid budget of $1.1 billion. So far, Arkansas physicians have signed up to handle as many as 400,000 Medicaid patients, far above the state's needs, he said.