The race for the chairmanship of the American Hospital Association board of trustees apparently is still up for grabs.
The three announced candidates said last week that they've received no final word from the AHA's committee on nominations, which interviewed the candidates in April. In the running are Gordon Sprenger, president and chief executive officer of HealthSpan Health System Corp. in Minneapolis; Charles Foster Jr., president of West Georgia Medical Center in La Grange, Ga.; and Edward Eckenhoff, president of National Rehabilitation Hospital in Washington.
The smart money is on Mr. Sprenger. Last year's announcement of a winner came June 28.
Favorable terms.There's nothing like being the boss. Just ask Abbey Healthcare Group Chairman Timothy Aitken, who borrowed $1.25 million from his own company to buy himself a new house, according to Abbey's latest Securities and Exchange Commission filing.
The British-born Mr. Aitken-who is known as one of the more successful takeover artists in home healthcare-somehow convinced his company to forgive up to 25% of the accrued principal and interest on the loan each year for four years, as well as to pay the state and federal taxes on the loan forgiveness-if he could help the company meet certain performance goals. He also received a $1.15 million bonus from the company that included $675,000 representing forgiveness of much of the house loan's principal and interest.
In his defense, Mr. Aitken did oversee some of the more dramatic growth in Abbey's history. For 1993, the Costa Mesa, Calif.-based company's net income climbed 38% to $14.3 million, or $1.42 per share, compared with $10.4 million, or $1.28 per share in 1992. Revenues climbed 32% to $329 million. From that perspective, perhaps the house loan isn't that surprising.
But not all is sunny in Costa Mesa. Former Abbey President and CEO Victor Chaltiel-ousted by Mr. Aitken in February-filed a $6 million lawsuit against his former boss in April, accusing him of breach of contract, fraud and deceit.
What's in a name?Several companies underwent name changes last week. Among them was Newton, Mass.-based real estate investment trust Health and Rehabilitation Properties Trust, which changed its name to Health and Retirement Properties Trust. Said David J. Hegarty, HRPT's executive vice president and chief financial officer: "The company has not made a new investment in a rehabilitation facility in several years, and our current business plan is to focus future investments in retirement properties and nursing homes."
ImageAmerica, a Nashville, Tenn.-based imaging provider, recently changed its name to MedAlliance to better reflect its new initiative aimed at acquiring physician group practices.
Finally, the National Association of Medical Equipment Supplies has shaken up the durable medical equipment industry by changing its name to the National Association of Medical Equipment Services, proving once again that when it comes to healthcare, it's better to "service" than "supply."
Lights, camera, cry.Hospitals and commercials are no strangers, and scenes of newborns and proud fathers have been used to peddle just about everything. But Eastman Kodak Co.'s new Royal Gold film is being pitched by real parents, just as their newborns arrive.
J. Walter Thompson advertising, which handles the Royal Gold account, arranged with St. Barnabas Medical Center, Livingston, N.J., to film in its delivery rooms. Crews led by noted motion picture director Michael Apted spent three sleepless days and nights at the hospital, and wound up using scenes from just two deliveries. The commercials, which aim to capture "the moments that matter most," don't show the actual births, but the moments just before and after, focusing on warm and fuzzy images like a father nuzzling his newborn son.
Great care was taken to avoid interfering with the real Kodak moment, St. Barnabas spokeswoman Ellen Greene said. Only three or four crew members were allowed in the delivery rooms at once, and every effort was made "to avoid exploitation" of the parents, she said.
What did the hospital get for its effort? An unspecified "private donation" and "a great deal of excitement" for the hospital staff on call those days and nights, Ms. Greene said. Of course, since the commercials open with a frame saying "St. Barnabas Medical Center, N.J., 10: 52 a.m., actual interview," the hospital received what buyers of Royal Gold film are supposed to get: good exposure.
Worth 1,000 words.Those healthcare lobbyists who would die for a chance to meet with President Clinton in person, but can't find their way onto his schedule, can take heart. Investing in some expensive dial-up videoconferencing equipment could get you an audience, if a brief one, with the president.
At least that's what one of the leading videoconferencing firms wants you to believe. Norm Gaut, chairman and chief executive officer of PictureTel Corp., based in Danvers, Mass., managed to hook up with the president to talk about healthcare reform in a promotional event. Mr. Gaut gushed over the president's Health Security Act, anyway. Speaking to Mr. Gaut and employees of PictureTel, the president was reported to be enthusiastic about the equipment. "This could save me a lot of travel time," Mr. Clinton said of the state-of-the-art system, which retails from $14,000 up to $48,500 and operates over that old information superhighway.