Burbank, Calif.-based UniHealth America is expected to complete the deal to sell its 200-bed Meadowlands Hospital Medical Center in Secaucus, N.J., this week to Liberty Health Services in Jersey City, N.J. UniHealth executives confirmed the sale but declined to reveal the purchase price or other details of the deal. However, UniHealth said it decided to sell the hospital to concentrate on the California market, where it operates 10 hospitals, six group practices, two HMOs and other healthcare-related businesses. At deadline, Liberty executives weren't available to discuss the deal. The Federal Trade Commission had been investigating the deal but apparently cleared it of any antitrust problems (Jan. 3, p. 4).
HealthTrust-The Hospital Co., Nashville, Tenn., has signed a contract to buy 300-bed Nashville Memorial Hospital for $108 million. Earlier this month, the state's attorney general said he wouldn't challenge the sale of the tax-exempt hospital to the investor-owned chain (March 21, p. 16). Proceeds from the sale will fund a new charitable foundation. The sale is expected to be completed by the end of the month. Nashville Memorial, located in Madison, Tenn., is expected to be a referral facility for 10 HealthTrust hospitals located within 100 miles of Nashville.
The 764-bed Swedish Medical Center-Seattle and Tacoma, Wash.-based MultiCare Health System will undertake a three-month study of a merger that, if completed, would create the largest hospital system in Washington. The merger talks come in the wake of the state's healthcare reform effort, which hospital executives said favors the creation of large, geographically diverse provider organizations. Swedish and MultiCare last year were part of a loose alliance of five organizations that encouraged members to share information and purchasing power, but not finances. Under a MultiCare-Swedish merger, both not-for-profit organizations would blend financial resources under a new not-for-profit umbrella. The consolidation would create a network with 1,400 beds and $600 million in annual revenues.
Two more insurers have begun testing the consolidation waters as Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. and Travelers confirmed published reports that they were exploring "possible alliances among their healthcare operations." The companies said the talks were "exploratory" and that it would be "premature" to speculate on their outcome. The two companies have a total of nearly 1 million enrollees in HMOs and another 4 million covered by PPOs and other managed-care products.
American Healthcare Management reported higher revenues and earnings for the fourth quarter and higher revenues for the year ended Dec. 31, 1993. The King of Prussia, Pa.-based chain of 16 hospitals in nine states is merging with OrNda HealthCorp, Nashville, Tenn., and Summit Health, Burbank, Calif. For the fourth quarter, AHM reported a 19% increase in net income to $3 million, or 10 cents per share, from net income of $2.5 million, or 9 cents per share, in the year-ago period. Revenues grew 8% to $87 million. For the year, the company posted net income of $9.5 million, or 33 cents per share, compared with $71.1 million, or $2.49 per share, in the previous year. The previous year's earnings, however, included a $55.6 million gain from the early repayment of debt. Revenues rose 10% to $343.1 million.
A federal judge in Pittsburgh has dismissed a lawsuit filed by the Hospital Council of Western Pennsylvania that challenged the authority of local taxing bodies to ask not-for-profit hospitals for special payments in lieu of property taxes. In a setback for the dozens of Pennsylvania hospitals that have had their property-tax exemptions challenged, U.S. District Judge Donald Ziegler said on March 15 that local taxing bodies haven't abused their authority because hospitals have willingly entered negotiations to settle their tax disputes. Judge Ziegler initially dismissed the case in 1990 on technical grounds, but a federal appellate court ordered Judge Ziegler to hear further arguments in the case.
A precedent-setting settlement was reached last week when the city of Philadelphia barred its 2,300 firefighters and other medical workers from refusing to treat people with AIDS or HIV, the virus that causes the deadly disease. The city settled a dispute with the U.S. Justice Department arising from the 1992 Americans with Disabilities Act. The complaint stemmed from a January 1993 incident in which an emergency medical technician refused to treat an HIV-infected man who complained of chest pains. As part of the settlement, the city paid the man $10,000 and will develop a training and education program for its emergency workers on AIDS awareness and how to prevent HIV infection.
A former executive of Epic Healthcare Group has filed suit against the company, contending it reneged on a promise to give him 3% of the stock in one of Epic's subsidiaries. David Anderson filed suit in state District Court in Dallas. He was vice president of business development until last month at Earthstone Home Health Co., an Epic subsidiary, according to the suit. He contends the stock he was promised was worth $750,000. Dallas-based Epic has agreed to be acquired by HealthTrust-The Hospital Co. in a $1 billion deal set to be completed in May.
Voluntary Hospitals of America has awarded a three-year, $290 million contract to Hill-Rom Co. Under the deal, Batesville, Ind.-based Hill-Rom will provide VHA members with beds, patient-room furniture and refurbished equipment. Irving, Texas-based VHA represents 950 healthcare organizations. Recently, Hill-Rom and its sister company, Charleston, S.C.-based Support Systems International, signed a contract to supply their products to Westchester, Ill.-based Premier Health Alliance's 180 members. The contract is valued at $100 million. Hill-Rom and SSI, which makes specialty beds, are subsidiaries of Hillenbrand Industries.
Nations Healthcare, an Atlanta-based provider of home healthcare services, has completed the acquisition of Healthcare Plus, a Marietta, Ga.-based home-care firm, for an undisclosed amount. Nations' president and chief executive officer, Anthony Butte, said the deal enables the company to expand into northeast Georgia. Privately held Nations provides home infusion and specialized home care in 15 markets in California, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina.