MILPITAS, Calif.-Lifeguard has become the first HMO in California to receive state Department of Corporations approval to offer a point-of-service plan under recently approved special legislation. The legislation allows HMOs to reimburse non-network providers in a point-of-service plan. Previously, an HMO wishing to offer such a plan had to contract with a life insurance company. "That used to create lots of duplication" and products that were monitored by two different agencies, the Department of Corporations and the Department of Insurance, said Tom Carter, vice president of marketing and sales at Milpitas-based Lifeguard. The Department of Corporations oversees HMOs in California. With one system, "I can track all the information for people even using services outside the (HMO) network. That was hard to do with a split contract," Mr. Carter said. Lifeguard is offering its point-of-service plan to employers with 51 or more employees and plans to add smaller employers. The HMO serves approximately 120,000 enrollees in Northern and Central California.
MONUMENT VALLEY, Utah-Thanks to the commitment of a local church group, Utah's most remote hospital will remain open. Executives at Monument Valley Hospital recently announced that the struggling facility will remain open after an executive committee of the Nevada-Utah Conference of Seventh-day Adventists voted to keep the hospital operating. The 36-bed hospital was established by the Seventh-day Adventist Church in 1961 and provides care for more than 35,000 American Indians who live in an area spanning 2.5 million acres in Utah and Arizona. Adventist Health System West provides pro bono management services for the hospital. Monument Valley, which is the only facility within a 100-mile radius, provides $1.2 million annually in free care for patients who cannot afford to pay for services. The vote to keep the hospital open followed a recommendation made earlier by the hospital's governing board. Also, officials from the Navajo Nation have requested that the U.S. Department of Indian Health Services allocate an additional $1 million to pay for hospital care, while the Oljato Chapter of the Navajo Nation passed a resolution authorizing a $20,000 grant for the hospital and requesting an additional $500,000 in matching funds to pay for hospital services, the hospital said.