Chase Capital, the private, equity-investing arm of Chase Manhattan Corp., and Chase Manhattan Bank's healthcare finance division have completed a $5 million equity investment in Computer Motion, a Goleta, Calif.-based developer of robotic systems for medical applications. The investment will finance the market introduction of Computer Motion's latest product, a robotic laparoscope positioner. The robotic arm is designed to hold and position a laparoscope during surgery, effectively giving the surgeon a third arm. Computer Motion is the only company to win Food and Drug Administration clearance to sell a robotic laparoscope positioner, Chase said.
United Health, a Milwaukee-based system, will expand its original five-year, $40 million commitment to renovate and enhance its 147 freestanding skilled-nursing facilities as well as its 13 assisted-living and retirement communities over the next 18 months. "We are less than two months away from finalizing our budgetary process and will update that number," said Mike Mervis, spokesman for the system. "The total construction will definitely be greater than $40 million." Plans for 1994 include the additions of 240 beds in three facilities, 15 therapy units and seven assisted-living communities. Construction of a new 105-bed facility in Cedarburg, Wis., to provide subacute, specialized rehabilitation and assisted-living services is expected to be completed in the spring of 1995. United Health operates in 14 states and reported $597.3 million in total net revenues for 1993.
WellCare Management Group said it has repurchased 25,000 shares of its common stock on the open market. In June, WellCare's board of directors authorized management to repurchase up to $3 million in stock for an undisclosed price. WellCare President and Chief Executive Officer Edward A. Ullmann said the board believes the Kingston, N.Y.-based managed-care plan's common stock remains undervalued. The day before WellCare's announcement, its stock closed at $19.38, up $0.88 from the previous day. The shares will be held as treasury stock, which doesn't accrue dividends and isn't used in calculating earnings per share. The company serves more than 78,000 enrollees.
Concern regarding American Health Properties' psychiatric portfolio prompted Standard & Poor's Corp. to revise its outlook on the real estate investment trust's BBB- implied senior rating to "negative" from "stable." The rating agency's pessimistic outlook reflects uncertainties about the future performance of the REIT's psychiatric asset base. The REIT recently took a $30 million write-down on its psychiatric portfolio (Aug. 1, p. 35). Standard & Poor's noted that the Denver-based REIT is attempting to restructure or divest certain psychiatric property investments. It's the second attempt within two years to restructure the psychiatric portion of its portfolio.
MedicalControl, a Dallas-based healthcare management services company, has completed its purchase of Pittsburgh-based Diversified Group Administrators. Terms weren't disclosed. Diversified, a third-party administrator, has annual sales of $3.4 million and is licensed to operate in California, Illinois, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas and West Virginia.