MORGANTOWN, W.Va.-Two not-for-profit health organizations are joining to bring an HMO to the largely rural area around Morgantown, which-like much of West Virginia-is not served by an HMO. The Robert C. Byrd Health Sciences Center of West Virginia University, an academic medical center, is affiliating with the Health Plan of the Upper Ohio Valley, headquartered in St. Clairsville, Ohio, an HMO with 80,000 enrollees. The Byrd center includes a 370-bed hospital, a freestanding outpatient facility, a cancer center, and rehabilitation and psychiatric hospitals. Public employees will be the first target market for the health plan. The state Medicaid program is expected to seek a managed-care option next year. To implement the alliance, an integrated provider network has been chartered, which will include the 250 faculty physicians at WVU and the hospital. As the network is developed, private-practice physicians and community hospitals will be added.
ATLANTIS, Fla.-JFK Medical Center has entered into exclusive negotiations with American Medical International to develop an integrated delivery network in South Florida. JFK, a 369-bed hospital, and Dallas-based AMI are discussing a wide range of alternatives from merger of assets to shared services, said Richard Cascio, JFK's interim president and chief executive officer. A decision on the type of arrangement is expected by late October, said Mr. Cascio, who had been JFK's executive vice president and chief financial officer. Mr. Cascio replaces William A. Sanger, who resigned, effective Sept. 2., to become president of Continuum Care Corp., a newly formed West Palm Beach, Fla.-based healthcare company. AMI, an investor-owned chain with 35 hospitals, owns three hospitals in South Florida, including 189-bed Palm Beach Gardens Medical Center. Palm Beach County, home to JFK, has 13 medical-surgical hospitals, including seven investor-owned facilities, with 3,220 staffed beds. Last year, JFK and 430-bed St. Mary's Hospital in West Palm Beach broke off merger negotiations for undisclosed reasons. St. Mary's has since signed a letter of intent to discuss a collaborative venture with 274-bed Good Samaritan Medical Center in West Palm Beach.