HCFA Administrator Bruce Vladeck told delegates at the Federation of American Health Systems annual conference in Orlando, Fla., last week that a proposal to revise diagnosis-related groups of illness categories will be circulated beginning next month to healthcare trade associations, providers, beneficiaries and others to obtain their comments before HCFA issues a proposed rule. Mr. Vladeck said the consultation process will take six to nine months. Further refinements would be made before HCFA issues a rule.
The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations said last week it would start accrediting healthcare provider networks in July. Dennis S. O'Leary, M.D., president of the JCAHO, said several pilot surveys involving networks interested in the program will take place in May. Earlier this year, the commission announced that it would train surveyors in April and begin accreditation reviews in late spring (Jan. 31, p. 13). The program will examine the network and its various components as well as individual practitioners, Dr. O'Leary said. The base fee for the program will be $10,000. Per-day survey rates will be $2,300, he said. Dr. O'Leary made the announcement at the National Managed Health Care Congress in Washington.
OrNda Healthcorp reported a net loss of $960,000, or 5 cents per share, for the second quarter ended Feb. 28, compared with net income of $877,000, or 5 cents per share, in the year-ago period. Revenues rose 33% to $195.4 million. The results were affected by a $1.5 million loss from the company's investment in Houston Northwest Medical Center. Last month, the Nashville, Tenn.-based hospital chain had to change the way it accounted for its investment in the 494-bed hospital (March 14, p. 4). For the six-month period, OrNda reported a net loss of $1.8 million, or 10 cents per share, compared with a net loss of $2.4 million, or 14 cents per share, in the year-ago period. Net revenues rose 31% to $378.3 million. This week, shareholders will vote on the merger of OrNda with American Healthcare Management and Summit Health into the nation's fifth-largest investor-owned hospital chain, with 48 facilities in 17 states.
New York's Mount Sinai Medical Center has formed a clinical affiliation with Cabrini Medical Center, a 493-bed community-based hospital sponsored by the Missionary Sisters of the Sacred Heart. Earlier this year, Cabrini decided not to become part of an integrated network being formed by 788-bed St. Vincent's Hospital and Medical Center and 229-bed St. Clare's Hospital and Health Center in New York (March 7, p. 16). Instead, Cabrini will explore the development of joint programs and shared services with 1,167-bed Mount Sinai and its school of medicine. Mount Sinai already has affiliations with six other New York-area hospitals and St. Mary's Hospital in West Palm Beach, Fla.
Three Denver hospitals agreed last week to study ways to collaborate on medical services. Current plans call for the closure of the inpatient unit at 105-bed National Jewish Center for Immunology and Respiratory Medicine, which has seen its inpatient business languish while its outpatient business has soared. The hospital would direct its pediatric cases to 238-bed Children's Hospital and its adult cases to 258-bed University Hospital. Meanwhile, Children's and University would move outpatient clinics for patients with respiratory diseases to National Jewish. A final agreement will be developed in the next four months. Less than a month ago, three other Denver-area hospitals, including 512-bed Saint Joseph Hospital, announced plans to form an integrated delivery network (March 21, p. 7).
The financially troubled University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics late last week was expected to announce a replacement for longtime director John W. Colloton. R. Edward Howell, executive director of the 492-bed Medical College of Georgia Hospital and Clinics in Augusta, was expected to be named as Mr. Colloton's successor for the head post at the 868-bed facility, MODERN HEALTHCARE has learned. The University of Iowa wouldn't confirm Mr. Howell's selection but said he was one of three people who were interviewed for the job. UIHC lost $8.7 million on $358 million in net revenues in 1992, according to the latest figures available from HCIA, a Baltimore-based healthcare research firm.