With so much upheaval in the healthcare industry, it shouldn't be surprising that companies' headquarters are on the move, too. Ever in search of tax credits, better airline connections for executives and lower taxes, and space to accommodate mergers, companies are becoming downright nomadic.
Just this month, two hospital chains moved, and another, Columbia/HCA Healthcare Corp., reopened the Pandora's box of headquarters haggling.
Community Psychiatric Centers moved its headquarters to Las Vegas from Laguna Hills, Calif., while Charter Medical Corp. moved to Atlanta from Macon, Ga. Both companies actually have more employees in places other than their corporate headquarters. For example, Charter has about 70 employees in Atlanta, and another 175 still in Macon. However, the top executives are in Atlanta, where the airline connections are far better. CPC has moved into temporary space in Las Vegas, but still has more employees in Laguna Hills and Atlanta. They'll move more workers to Las Vegas as office space opens, CPC officials said.
Those numbers could be meaningful to watchers of the Columbia/HCA and Healthtrust merger. Columbia/HCA has 850 employees in Louisville, Ky., and 750 in Nashville, Tenn. Healthtrust has 200 in Nashville.
Both Nashville and Louisville are intent on being the headquarters of the ever-growing Columbia/HCA. Richard Scott, the company's president and chief executive officer, has said the decision will be based on the interests of employees and shareholders.
Just a few months ago, Columbia/HCA promised to stay in Louisville in exchange for a contract to operate University of Louisville Hospital. How that deal will be affected by the pending merger with Healthtrust is now open to question.
Merger humor.Speaking of the big merger, a few weeks ago Outliers told you that Healthtrust had dropped "The Hospital Company" from its name and was considering a possible name change.
R. Clayton McWhorter, Healthtrust's chairman, referred to that possibility in a conference call with stock analysts after announcing the proposed merger with Columbia/HCA.
Tongue-in-cheek, he said if Healthtrust had stayed independent, the company would have dropped the last two T's from Healthtrust. What would have been left? Health R Us.
Converting to a new line of work.In the corporate world, the bottom line often takes top priority, so it was a little surprising when the chief financial officer of one of the industry's most financially successful hospital companies left recently for a higher calling.
Kelly Curry has been with Health Management Associates since 1982, but he left last Friday to pursue a missionary career in Ireland.
"Since 1986, I've known that the Lord wanted me to go into the service. Finally, in 1993, I decided I'd do whatever He led me to do," Mr. Curry said. Through her own scripture reading, his wife has joined in his enthusiasm for the career change, and now Mr. Curry and his family are moving to Estes Park, Colo., where he'll attend Torchbearers Bible College before departing for Ireland.
Although his new path is certainly not the norm, it's not altogether surprising that someone from Naples, Fla.-based HMA would make such a move. Though it has no religious affiliation, the 21-hospital chain is the only healthcare system Outliers knows of that has a fish symbol in its logo. The fish was the symbol early Christians used to identify themselves as followers of Jesus Christ.
Onward to academe.Stuart A. Wesbury Jr., former president of the American College of Healthcare Executives, has accepted a position as professor of health administration and policy at Arizona State University in Phoenix. Mr. Wesbury, who for the past two years has been a consultant with Tribrook Consulting Group in Chicago, will join ASU's faculty on Nov. 15.
Mr. Wesbury left ACHE in 1992 to make an unsuccessful bid for a congressional seat. He lost the March 17, 1992, primary election to Rep. Harris Fawell, the incumbent Republican.
Cheeky consultants.Participants in an integration game presented by Integem Healthcare Development, a Chattanooga, Tenn.-based healthcare marketing and planning consulting firm, were given this "managed-care contract":
"Whereas, this contract was received in a simulation game played at the American Society for Health Care Marketing and Public Relations of the American Hospital Association Annual Education Conference; and,
"Whereas, this contract is not with a legitimate managed-care organization and is not valid or binding in any way whatsoever; and,
"Whereas, this contract will not generate for your hospital any income, any new patients, any increased market share or any measurable benefits of any kind; and,
"Whereas, the parties presenting this contract will soon board an airplane, skip town and likely never be seen again;
"Be it therefore resolved, that this contract is worth about as much as many of the binding, legitimate contracts offered to your hospital by some real managed-care organizations."
Air time.For one brief shining moment (about two or three nights, actually), St. Vincent Medical Center was clearly visible in the Los Angeles skyline behind Jay Leno, on the redesigned set of NBC's "Tonight Show."
"At one point, the building happened to be right behind Jay. You could read it (the hospital's sign)," said "Tonight Show" publicist Jennifer Barnett.
Alas, because "it was so visible it was distracting," artists toned down the photo as they made other changes in the new set, she said. St. Vincent's moment of media glory came and went before any viewers brought the free publicity to the hospital's attention. In fact, Outliers had to give St. Vincent the good/bad news. The hospital building is still visible on the set, but since the name isn't very visible, only those who know what it looks like could identify the building.
Fame is so fleeting.