TOMS RIVER, N.J.-The Federal Trade Commission has cleared the way for 596-bed Community Medical Center in Toms River to join with 326-bed Kimball Medical Center in Lakewood, N.J. While each hospital will retain its own identity, the proposed consolidation is supposed to enable the two Ocean County hospitals to expand and add programs and services and achieve money-saving efficiencies.
MINEOLA, N.Y.-Winthrop-University Hospital has signed affiliation agreements with Mid-Island Hospital in Bethpage, N.Y., and Massapequa General Hospital in Seaford, N.Y. Patients of the two institutions requiring tertiary services such as head-trauma care, cardiac catheterization and open-heart surgery will be referred to 591-bed Winthrop. The medical staffs of 223-bed Mid-Island and 122-bed Massapequa General will participate in Winthrop's medical education programs. Mid-Island said it will retain a management contract for its day-to-day operations with Preferred Health Network, the Brooklyn, N.Y.-based corporate parent of four hospitals as well as ambulatory-care and diagnostic centers.
WESTFIELD, Mass.-Noble Hospital, a 101-bed acute-care facility, has begun preliminary discussions on an affiliation with Baystate Health Systems, a Springfield-based integrated organization serving western Massachusetts. Noble's president and chief executive officer, George Koller, said the hospital is financially sound but needs to become part of a larger system to stay a player in the area's increasing managed-care contracting and because of the trend toward offering full-service networks to payers. Mr. Koller said Noble's managed-care business has increased to 15% of revenues from 2% to 3% three years ago, an indication it's attractive to such contractors. In addition, admissions and outpatient visits have been increasing while inpatient stays have shortened, bolstering the balance sheet and "making us appealing to the other players seeking to partner up," he said. "But it's not going to last," he added, because the hospital is not comprehensive enough to continue to attract contracts on its own. For example, it has no obstetrics department.
NEW YORK-Aetna Life & Casualty Co. is introducing its "HealthWays" family medical facilities to the New York-New Jersey metropolitan region. The insurer pioneered the idea in Illinois, Maryland, Texas and Georgia (May 30, p. 18, June 13, p. 39). The facilities emphasize quality and customer service. A total of 14 facilities are planned for the New York-New Jersey market, with the first scheduled to open this fall. The centers will be available to the general public as well as 1.1 million enrollees of Aetna Health Plans.