COLUMBIA, S.C.-Seven hospitals in central South Carolina have formed a network called Carolina HealthChoice Network to serve as the preferred providers for a new managed-care plan called BlueChoice, simultaneously introduced by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of South Carolina. The hospitals, which have a total of nearly 1,700 beds, will remain independently governed facilities under the network. Under a risk-sharing arrangement with Blue Cross, the hospitals agreed to be preferred providers in exchange for accepting predetermined discounted payments per procedure from the insurer for treating BlueChoice enrollees. The hospitals in the network are: Richland Memorial Hospital in Columbia; Fairfield Memorial Hospital in Winnsboro; Kershaw County Memorial Hospital in Camden; Lexington Medical Center in West Columbia; Newberry County Memorial Hospital in Newberry; Springs Memorial Hospital in Lancaster; and Tuomey Regional Medical Center in Sumter.
TAMPA, Fla.-After less than a year of operation, the Bay Area Healthcare Alliance here has been disbanded and its nine hospital and medical organizations are exploring other networking options. The idea of the alliance was to form a network of physician-hospital organizations to collectively negotiate managed-care contracts for its members with payers or directly contract with employers (May 3, 1993, p. 19). But problems with the alliance started early. Not all of the nine hospitals had physician-hospital organizations, a key component of the contracting strategy, and those PHOs that were established were in various stages of development. Another problem was that member hospitals are located in Hillsborough County and Pinellas County, which are distinct markets separated by Tampa Bay. Those issues led to an even greater concern, which was an inability to strike deals with payers or employers, said Robin DeLaVergne, director of marketing for Memorial Hospital in Tampa. As of April 1, the alliance's three-member staff was laid off.
NASHVILLE, Tenn.-Two of the city's hospital giants, 637-bed Vanderbilt University Medical Center and 571-bed St. Thomas Hospital, have entered discussions to develop a provider network. A St. Thomas spokesman said the two hospitals have had an informal relationship for years, and the current negotiations could result in a formalization of their ties. He said talks are in the "very preliminary stages," and a merger isn't being discussed. Vanderbilt executives were unavailable for comment. St. Thomas also participates in an existing network of about a dozen smaller suburban and rural hospitals.