DALLAS-Three cardiology group practices in Dallas and Fort Worth have merged to create one of the largest cardiology practices in the Southwest with 49 physicians. The Dallas Heart Group, with 13 cardiologists, and Consultants in Cardiology, a Fort Worth-based group of seven cardiologists, merged with HeartPlace, a Dallas-based group of 29 cardiologists. HeartPlace will have offices at Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas; Medical City Dallas Hospital; Baylor University Medical Center, Dallas; All Saints Episcopal Hospital of Fort Worth; Harris Methodist Fort Worth; and Medical Plaza Hospital, Fort Worth.
HOUSTON-Vendell Healthcare will exercise its option to purchase 88-bed Fountain Brook Behavioral Health Center here from National Medical Enterprises, Santa Monica, Calif. Last year, Vendell, a Nashville, Tenn.-based psychiatric hospital company, leased the hospital with an option to purchase. The company operates 10 behavioral health systems in eight states. Vendell executives said they will discontinue inpatient services at Fountain Brook but will continue to offer outpatient services. Vendell operates another psychiatric hospital in Houston, 140-bed Gulf Pines Hospital.
NEW ORLEANS-Ochsner Health Plan, Metairie, La., the state's largest HMO with more than 80,000 enrollees, has broadened its provider network to include West Jefferson Medical Center, Marrero, La. The health plan, which is affiliated with Ochsner Foundation Hospital, has operated two neighborhood clinics in the Westbank area of New Orleans, and the agreement with West Jefferson adds inpatient services to enrollees in that region. Ochsner recently signed a similar agreement with Pendleton Memorial Methodist Hospital in east New Orleans.
TRUTH OR CONSEQUENCES, N.M.-The city of Truth or Consequences, the village of Williamsburg and Sierra County have approved a lease to keep Sierra Vista Hospital open. Adventist Health System-Sunbelt, Orlando, Fla., had tried to sell the 43-bed rural hospital and said it would close it at the end of May if a buyer were not found. Under the new agreement, the three governments will lease the hospital free of charge for the first six months, $4,000 a month for the second six months and $6,000 monthly for the second year. At the end of two years, the city, county or village could buy the hospital for its appraised value or $1.95 million, whichever is less. The hospital's newly appointed seven-member board is considering contracting with Portland, Ore.-based Brim to operate the facility. The hospital board this month will appeal to the state board of finance for emergency funding to ease cash-flow problems.