The Federal Trade Commission has made final a consent agreement that cleared the February merger of Columbia Healthcare Corp. and HCA-Hospital Corporation of America. Under the agreement, the nation's largest investor-owned hospital chain is required to divest HCA's 183-bed Aiken (S.C.) Regional Medical Center. When the agency issued its proposed consent agreement in the case, the FTC said the merger would give the companies illegal control of two of the five hospitals in the Augusta, Ga., market, which includes Aiken (Feb. 14, p. 2). Columbia/HCA Healthcare Corp. has one year to sell the hospital. A company spokeswoman said Columbia has yet to do so, and she declined comment on any prospective buyers.
Coram Healthcare Corp. said last week that it has received a commitment for an $80 million revolving line of credit from Wells Fargo Bank. The deal is contingent on the completion of the $807 million merger of home infusion companies T2 Medical, Curaflex Health Services, HealthInfusion and Medisys later this month. Shareholders of Boulder, Colo.-based Coram were scheduled to vote on the merger late last week.
The Southern California regional office of Kaiser Permanente in Pasadena has teamed with Sandia National Laboratories of Livermore, Calif., to begin developing a computer-based model of a regional healthcare system. The two-year agreement is a government contract that makes the federal laboratory's services available to private industry. The jointly funded, $1.8 million project will develop a model that will allow healthcare decisionmakers to "predict how medical interventions and administrative decisions will reverberate through the system," Kaiser Permanente said.
GranCare has completed its acquisition of LTC Pharmaceutical Services Corp. for approximately $35 million in cash and stock. South Bend, Ind.-based LTC has annual revenues of about $40 million and operates seven pharmacies providing institutional services to 21,000 beds in the Midwest. Culver City, Calif.-based GranCare operates 80 long-term-care facilities nationwide with a total of 11,000 beds. With this acquisition, GranCare operates institutional pharmacies serving about 85,000 long-term-care patients.
Hospitals no longer are required to report kidney transplants to HCFA under a directive issued by HHS last week. However, hospitals must continue to report such transplants to the United Network for Organ Sharing, said HHS Secretary Donna Shalala. Hospitals also will continue to report information on the status of recipients and their transplanted organs to UNOS, Ms. Shalala said.
Medco Behavioral Care of California, a subsidiary of Medco Behavioral Care Corp., has entered into a three-year contract with the state of California to provide employee-assistance program services. The state's program is the largest EAP served by a single vendor in the United States. Effective July 1, it will cover more than 500,000 state employees and dependents through a network of about 3,000 specialists. Medco Behavioral Care, based in South San Francisco, is the nation's largest managed behavioral healthcare company, serving about 13 million people in 50 states through a network of 21,000 providers and 1,200 facilities.
Rochester Telephone and Rochester Healthcare Information Group have announced plans to jointly develop and maintain an electronic network connecting hospitals in New York's Monroe and Livingston counties. The network will enable hospitals and other healthcare providers, employers, payers, regulators and information networks to share clinical data. The initial goal is to expedite treatment of critically ill patients being transferred from one hospital to another by electronically transmitting crucial patient data to the referral site. Some 2,000 patients are transferred each year between area hospitals. RHI Group is a subsidiary of the Hospital Consortium of Greater Rochester, which represents nine area hospitals.