Portland, Ore.-based Brim will enhance its rural hospitals through a joint venture with SSM Health Care System of St. Louis, executives announced last week. Through Community Health Partners, Brim will gain the resources of SSM's tertiary hospitals, while SSM said it expects to get more referrals. SSM, a Roman Catholic-sponsored system, owns 17 hospitals, while Brim manages 62 hospitals and owns five others. "It is an exciting business arrangement moving both companies into the forefront of community networking, while improving geographic access to healthcare for the non-urban community," said A.E. "Gene" Brim, the chief executive officer. Terms of the agreement weren't disclosed. In CHP's first venture, it leased the operations of 54-bed Mission Hill Memorial Hospital in Shawnee, Okla. Mission Hill and 493-bed SSM-sponsored St. Anthony Hospital of Oklahoma City are collaborating on the development of neighborhood clinics in Shawnee.
The board of Vencor, a Louisville, Ky.-based chain of 33 intensive-care hospitals, approved a 3-for-2 stock split in the form of a 50% stock dividend. This is the third stock split in four years for the company, whose shares are traded on the New York Stock Exchange. New shares will be distributed on Oct. 25 to shareholders of record as of Oct. 10. Vencor has 17 million shares outstanding.
A psychiatric hospital has sued National Medical Enterprises and a former executive, contending their participation in a fraud and bribery scheme to attract patients damaged the hospital's business. Timberlawn Psychiatric Hospital of Dallas filed suit late last month in state district court, saying the illegal scheme violated antitrust laws. The lawsuit contends that Peter Alexis, former NME vice president, and other officials solicited and paid physicians, therapists and others to refer patients to their hospitals. Timberlawn is seeking an unspecified amount of damages for "commercial and economic losses" suffered from actions by NME and Mr. Alexis from 1985 to 1993, court documents state. NME spokeswoman Diana Takvam wouldn't comment on the lawsuit because she hadn't seen it. Mr. Alexis pleaded guilty in June to federal criminal charges of conspiracy and making false statements. He is awaiting sentencing.-Associated Press
The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations announced last week it had reached agreement with Westcott Communications, a Dallas-based teleconference training and information service, to produce three 90-minute programs outlining the 1995 Accreditation Manual for Hospitals and the survey process. The interactive videoconference series will address standards and survey process changes, highlighting changes in expectations since the 1994 version of the manual, according to a written statement. Westcott said it has more than 30,000 subscribers representing 2.5 million professionals and students in healthcare and other industries. It provides services to the healthcare industry through networks, including the AHA Teleconference Series and the Westcott Healthcare Teleconference Group.
A committee charged with selecting a prime contractor for a Chicago-area community health information network narrowed the field last week to two contestants. One is the ChinAlliance, led by Shared Medical Systems, with partner Healthcare Data Exchange; AT&T Health Care Solutions; Coopers & Lybrand; Illinois Medical Information Network; Integrated Medical System; Medical Electronic Data Exchange; National Electronic Information Corp., and PCS Health Systems. The other finalist is Ameritech, with partner Ernst & Young. The committee of the Metropolitan Chicago Healthcare Council dropped consideration of a bid led by Health Communications Services.
Charles Chugerman, a former vice president of Towers Financial Corp., has pleaded guilty to criminal fraud charges stemming from a federal probe of the receivables financing firm, which led to indictments against it and top executives.