AUSTIN, Texas-More than 100 corporations have launched the Texas Health Information Network, which allows healthcare providers to file patient claims electronically through a single clearinghouse. The network is administered by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas. Rather than accessing multiple networks, hospitals will be able to use one electronic clearinghouse to file claims or check eligibility and claim status. The service is free to providers. Financing is paid for by the participating carriers, including insurers, HMOs and self-insured employers. "So much of the information we share with health benefit programs has been handled by phone, fax and mail," said Newt Courtney, director of patient financial services for Southwest Texas Methodist Hospital, San Antonio. "We are excited that so much of our routine administrative tasks will be handled by a network electronically."
HOUSTON-HCFA has approved Medicare payments for adult liver transplants at 633-bed Hermann Hospital. The hospital is one of 37 hospitals nationwide that are authorized to perform adult liver transplants for Medicare patients. Previously, the only other Texas hospital authorized for the procedure was 957-bed Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas.
METAIRIE, La.-The Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word Health Care System of Houston and Ochsner Medical Institutions, New Orleans, have formed the Ochsner Sisters of Charity Health Plan. Officials said the plan, which will begin operating in January 1995, is the first statewide integrated network in Louisiana. Ochsner, which includes a group practice of 400 physicians and 532-bed Ochsner Foundation Hospital, operates an 80,000-enrollee HMO, the state's largest. The Sisters of Charity, which has three hospitals and a nursing home in Louisiana, operates a PPO with 15,000 enrollees. Enrollees in the newly formed plan will have access to providers in both hospital systems.
KANSAS CITY, Mo.-Truman Medical Center-West is reviewing its security operations after a newborn baby was kidnapped from a patient room Nov. 7. Police returned the infant unharmed to the 20-year-old mother the following day. An 18-year-old woman has been charged with kidnapping. The mother left her baby unattended while she went to the bathroom, a hospital spokesman said. Nurses reported the infant's absence to hospital security soon after the abduction.