Meditrust announced the closing of $50 million in long-term-care investments. The deals include a $42.3 million mortgage financing secured by seven facilities with 820 beds in Florida, Indiana and Ohio. The facilities are operated by Boston-based Harborside Healthcare, which is new to Meditrust's portfolio. The Needham Heights, Mass.-based real estate investment trust also provided $7.3 million in permanent mortgage financing for a 179-bed long-term-care facility in California operated by Health Asset Realty Trust, Cleveland, Tenn.
AIM USA, the trade association for the automatic data collection industry, has created a healthcare committee as part of its initiative to support healthcare reform efforts. The committee was chartered to promote and expand the use of data collection technologies, including bar codes, bar-code scanning, wireless networks, handheld computers, magnetic stripes, character recognition and voice systems. "These tools, whose capabilities have been demonstrated and proven for years in other industries, can be used to reduce errors, speed processing and lower operational costs," said Larry Roberts, senior vice president of Pittsburgh-based AIM USA.
Fitch Investors Service has lowered its rating on $35.2 million of New England Memorial Hospital's debt to BB+ from BBB. The Stoneham, Mass., hospital's non-investment-grade rating reflects a large decline in inpatient utilization, an extremely tenuous liquidity position and declining profitability, Fitch said. Competitive pressures and the 124-bed hospital's inability to obtain additional managed-care contracts have resulted in a 13% decline in inpatient admissions, the New York credit-rating agency explained. New England Memorial doesn't generate sufficient cash flow from operations, and if it hadn't received a $2.6 million Medicaid settlement and other adjustments this year, it would have posted a $3.5 million loss from operations.
Universal Health Services' board of directors has authorized the company to repurchase up to $20 million of its common shares in the open market. Shares of the King of Prussia, Pa.-based company, which operates 13 acute-care and 13 psychiatric hospitals, are traded on the New York Stock Exchange.
MedEcon Services has acquired 70% of Direct Medical, a Richmond, Va.-based company that buys about $150 million in capital equipment annually for hospitals. Terms of the deal weren't disclosed. MedEcon is a Louisville, Ky.-based purchasing group of 1,000 hospitals. It now is the industry's largest buyer of capital equipment with about $300 million in annual purchases, said Bill Wooldridge, its chief executive officer. A rival purchasing group, SupportHealth, formerly owned part of Direct Medical. When it merged with another group earlier this year, it cut its ties to Direct Medical, but its members have continued to buy through the company, Mr. Wooldridge said.