PHOENIX-Samaritan Health System continued its internal restructuring program by laying off 31 employees at four of its Phoenix Valley hospitals. The affected employees were middle managers at Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center, Phoenix; Desert Samaritan Medical Center, Mesa; Maryvale Samaritan Medical Center, Phoenix; and Thunderbird Samaritan Medical Center, Glendale. Approximately 170 of Samaritan's 9,800 employees have been laid off since the beginning of 1994, a spokeswoman said. The system expects to save $9.7 million through the restructuring. In an unrelated matter, a group of physicians at Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center protested the system's recent agreement to form a joint venture with Columbia/HCA Healthcare Corp. to develop outpatient surgery services. Some 200 physicians at the hospital met with Samaritan officials earlier this month to protest their lack of representation during joint venture negotiations with Columbia/HCA, the nation's largest for-profit hospital chain. However, officials countered that they were legally prohibited from revealing details of the joint venture because such disclosures would have violated Securities and Exchange Commission regulations. Louisville, Ky.-based Columbia/HCA is a publicly traded company. Samaritan officials further contended that hospital physicians are properly represented on the system's board of directors.
GLENDALE, Calif.-Interstate Rehab has signed a two-year agreement with Cigna HealthCare to provide physical therapy and occupational therapy services to selected Cigna enrollees in Southern California. Terms of the agreement weren't released. Under the deal, Interstate will provide outpatient services to Cigna patients in San Bernardino, Riverside, Los Angeles and Orange counties. It now handles 4,000 to 5,000 outpatient visits per month for patients in those areas, the company said. Interstate Rehab provides contract rehabilitative services to about 20 acute-care hospitals and 15 nursing facilities nationwide.