The Democratic National Committee has launched another round of radio and TV ads criticizing Republican healthcare reform plans and stressing the importance of universal coverage. The blitz features farmers, small-business owners and other working Americans who warn that the Republicans' approach to reform won't do anything to help the middle class. The $400,000 campaign is airing in Nebraska, Nevada and Wisconsin, where key Democratic senators are undecided about whether to support universal coverage.
The Senate Veterans Affairs Committee last week passed a healthcare reform plan that closely resembles the Clinton administration plan. Sen. James Jeffords (R-Vt.), who also voted for a Clinton-like plan in the Senate Labor and Human Resources Committee, voted with the committee's seven Democrats to pass the plan 8-4. The bill would create a VA health plan that would be offered to all veterans as an insurance option.
Hospitals would only be reimbursed for two-thirds of their costs, or 67 cents on the dollar, under the healthcare reform plan approved by the House Ways and Means Committee, according to a report prepared for the American Hospital Association by Lewin-VHI, a healthcare consulting firm. The Ways and Means proposal includes $110 billion in Medicare spending reductions over five years, in addition to a 4% cap on spending growth in the program. The report assumes that hospitals would make no changes to adjust to reduced reimbursement.
The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations late last week released a list of nearly 300 hospitals that were accredited "with commendation" between Jan. 1, 1991, and Dec. 31, 1993. That means the hospitals scored in the top 5% of all hospitals surveyed by the JCAHO during a three-year accreditation cycle. In total, the JCAHO accredits about 5,300 hospitals nationwide using its quality-assurance and improvement standards.
Lee Memorial Hospital in Fort Myers, Fla., will have to wait at least another month to learn whether the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will allow its proposed acquisition of Cape Coral (Fla.) Hospital. A hearing was expected July 12, but the court announced last week it was moving the hearing to late August because of scheduling conflicts. Last month, the appeals court reinstated an injunction barring the merger and decided to review the case. The Federal Trade Commission alleges the acquisition would give the combined organization a 67% market share, resulting in higher prices and fewer services to consumers. In other developments, Moody's Investors Service downgraded $88.9 million in Cape Coral bonds to B1 from Baa. The decision was due primarily to losses of $10.4 million for the first nine months of fiscal 1994, as well as the recent firings of Cape Coral's top five executives and the injunction.
After months of negotiations, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York and the Sisters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul of New York have agreed to develop an integrated delivery system covering the New York metropolitan area (Nov. 8, 1993, p. 14). It will include 10 facilities sponsored by the archdiocese and the Sisters of Charity and three other institutions that will affiliate with the network. A formal announcement, including names of the participating institutions, is expected to be made soon.
Coram Healthcare Corp. last week named Sam Leno its new chief financial officer. He most recently was vice president of finance and information and technology at Baxter International, Deerfield, Ill. The Coram merger, which was completed July 11, merged home infusion companies T2 Medical, Curaflex Health Services, HealthInfusion and Medisys into the nation's second-largest home infusion company. Its new headquarters will be in Boulder, Colo.