HONOLULU-Hawaii's Health Quest five-year demonstration project, which privatizes Medicaid coverage under managed-care programs, is set to become operational Aug. 1. About 99% of the state's approximately 100,000 Medicaid recipients are now enrolled in plans provided by five insurers, said Richard E. Meiers, president and CEO of the Healthcare Association of Hawaii. Meanwhile, the push is on to sign up enough physicians to provide the necessary care, he said. Conflicts surrounding the program, which providers complain was developed without advice from them, were ironed out in the final days before the state Legislature adjourned last month. Without Quest, Hawaii's Medicaid shortfall in the next fiscal year would be $35 million, he said. Lawmakers also approved a measure allowing advance practice nurses to write prescriptions for certain medications.
LOS ANGELES-Hundreds of industry associates and friends gathered to fete Stephen W. Gamble, president of the Hospital Council of Southern California, who will retire in August after 36 years of service. At the June 10 celebration in Beverly Hills, it was announced that $328,000 has been contributed to start an endowment fund in Mr. Gamble's honor. Mr. Gamble, 64, initiated the first classification of hospital emergency services nationwide and became a prominent spokesman on AIDS in the early 1980s. Mr. Gamble increased the scope of HCSC, including expansion of its group purchasing services on behalf of hospitals. He also helped establish the National Health Foundation to address community health needs. NHF will hold and administer the Stephen W. Gamble Endowment Fund, which will provide seed money for new projects promoting more effective healthcare delivery and better personal health.
CHICO, Calif.-Chico Community Hospital completed an agreement to acquire North Valley Rehabilitation Hospital in Chico, targeting July 1 as the day Chico Community will assume operational responsibility. Financial details weren't available. The 60-bed rehabilitation facility has been operated by a subsidiary of Mechanicsburg, Pa.-based Continental Medical Systems. The 3-year-old rehabilitation hospital "had been underperforming for a variety of reasons including the absence of any alliance with other providers in the area," said Rocco A. Ortenzio, Continental's chairman and chief executive officer. "We look forward to expanding our rehabilitation services to all of Northern California," said Fredrick W. Hodges, Chico's CEO. The acquisition fits into Chico's expansion plans, freeing up 28 beds for medical-surgical patients and doubling the number of skilled-nursing beds to 30, bringing the hospital's total bed count to 190.