Healthtrust, a 116-hospital chain that's agreed to be acquired by Louisville, Ky.-based Columbia/HCA Healthcare Corp., reported a 42% increase in profits for its fiscal year ended Aug. 31. The Nashville, Tenn.-based company cited net income of $173.2 million, or $1.98 per share, for the year, compared with net income of $121.6 million, or $1.46 per share, in the previous fiscal year. Revenues grew 24% to $3 billion. For the fourth quarter, the company reported a 61% increase in net income to $41.3 million, or 44 cents per share, compared with $25.6 million, or 31 cents per share, in the year-ago period. Revenues increased 55% to $942 million. The results include the acquisition of Epic Healthcare Group, Dallas, earlier in the year.
Michael A. Stocker, M.D., was named president and chief executive officer at embattled Empire Blue Cross and Blue Shield, New York, succeeding G. Robert O'Brien, who resigned in August. Since January 1993, Dr. Stocker, 52, has been president at Cigna Healthplans, a $3.5 billion managed-care operation that includes 44 HMOs and 65 PPOs.
HCFA will not open the Medicare physician fee schedule to "wholesale review" in its upcoming five-year update of physician fees, said Kathleen Buto, HCFA's associate administrator for policy. Instead, Ms. Buto said, the update will focus on procedures in which physicians' workloads have changed because of technology or techniques and, therefore, should be valued differently for purposes of reimbursement. HCFA also will review procedures on which regulators put too much or too little value. The five-year update is required by the 1989 law that created the physician fee schedule. The resulting fee-schedule changes will be proposed in 1996 and will go into effect in January 1997.
Burbank, Calif.-based UniHealth has joined the California Health Network, a statewide integrated delivery system that is owned jointly by several large systems. CHN, with combined assets of $5.5 billion, was formed this year to enhance individual systems' ability to contract with purchasers. It includes California Healthcare System of San Francisco; Sharp HealthCare, San Diego; Sutter Health, Sacramento; Adventist Health System/West, Los Angeles; and Loma Linda University Medical Center, Los Angeles. With UniHealth, CHN now includes nearly 20,000 affiliated physicians and 67,000 employees serving more than 1.6 million people.
Premier Health Alliance members can pay a fixed price for the hardware used in knee and hip replacements in a one-of-a-kind program, the Westchester, Ill.-based alliance said. Five orthopedics manufacturers were awarded three-year contracts with Premier after they agreed to the price discounts and terms it stipulated. The contracts, valued at a total of $100 million, are designed to encourage hospitals to buy implants from only a few manufacturers. Two firms involved, Raynham, Mass.-based Johnson & Johnson Professional and Austin, Texas-based Intermedics Orthopedics, also said they would accept payments of $2,000 to $2,500 per procedure if buyers committed 80% of their implant budget to the company.
David Woodrum will be installed next month as chairman of the board of directors of the American Academy of Medical Administrators, a 4,000-member healthcare association. Mr. Woodrum, 54, is president of the Chicago-based healthcare consulting firm Woodrum and was an executive vice president and chief operating officer at the American Hospital Association from 1986 to 1990. Mr. Woodrum will take his post at the AAMA's 37th annual conference Nov. 19 in Orlando, Fla.
Arnold Kimmel, 48, chief executive officer of Grant Hospital of Chicago, has been dismissed by the 229-bed facility's owner, for-profit Columbia/HCA Healthcare Corp. "We had differences of opinion regarding the focus of the hospital," said Sam Holtzman, president of Columbia/HCA's Chicago division. Timothy Crowley was hired last week as Grant's chief operating officer. Mr. Crowley comes from Columbia/HCA-owned 153-bed Bluegrass Regional Medical Center in Frankfort, Ky., where he was associate administrator.