Acute-care hospitals posted a 5.9% total profit margin during the first six months of this year, compared with a 6.2% total profit margin during the same period last year, according to the American Hospital Association's latest quarterly hospital economic report. Hospitals' operating profit margin also dipped to 0.9% during the first half of the year from 1.4% during the first six months of 1993, the AHA reported. The figures are based on a monthly survey of a representative sample of about 2,000 hospitals.
Columbia/HCA Healthcare Corp. announced one deal and completed another last week. In Texas, the company agreed to acquire Dallas Family Hospital from Universal Health Services, King of Prussia, Pa. Terms weren't disclosed. Recently, the facility signed an affiliation agreement with St. Paul Medical Center in Dallas (Oct. 17, p. 31). That agreement didn't affect the ownership or management of Dallas Family. Louisville, Ky.-based Columbia/HCA has nine hospitals in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. In addition, Columbia/HCA completed a deal with Murray Medical Center, Chatsworth, Ga. Under the deal, Columbia/HCA purchased the hospital's assets except for the real estate, which it will lease from the Hospital Authority of Murray County under a 71/2-year agreement. The hospital authority previously operated the hospital. Columbia/HCA also will refinance the hospital's $4.7 million in tax-exempt debt at the end of this month.
Champion Healthcare Corp., Houston, completed its $43 million merger with AmeriHealth. Champion had been privately held, but the merger with Atlanta-based AmeriHealth made Champion a publicly traded company. AmeriHealth stockholders received cash and stock in the deal. Champion stock is traded on the American Stock Exchange under the symbol CHC. Champion, which now operates seven hospitals in six states, also has agreements to buy two hospitals in Florida and Ohio.
The Catholic Health Association and the California Association of Catholic Hospitals weighed in last week against California's Proposition 187, which makes illegal immigrants ineligible for public services, including healthcare. The Roman Catholic organizations filed a motion last week in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles to join one of four lawsuits trying to stop the controversial proposition. "Proposition 187 puts Catholic healthcare providers in the position of being an informant and enforcer," said John Curley, CHA president and chief executive officer. "Our role is not to be an extension of the Immigration and Naturalization Service." A hearing on a preliminary injunction for all cases has been set for this week.
Four psychiatric management companies accused of violating Texas law concerning patient referral and compensation for services have settled with the state for a total of $480,000, the state attorney general's office said. The companies admitted no wrongdoing in settling. The state alleged that companies put pressure on employees to increase patient admissions. The companies and their agreed payments include National Medical Management Services, a subsidiary of National Medical Enterprises, Santa Monica, Calif., $200,000; Horizon Mental Health Management, Denton, Texas, $175,000; Parkside Co., Park Ridge, Ill., $70,000; and Nova Healthcare Systems, Austin, Texas, $35,000.-Associated Press
HCFA has published a regulation that will require peer-review organizations to review protests made by Medicare managed-care enrollees who claim they have been improperly denied services or billed for services they believe should be a health plan's responsibility. Managed-care plans must respond in 60 days to requests for reconsideration, and if the plans reaffirm those decisions, the enrollees will have the right to appeal to HCFA. More than 2.8 million Medicare beneficiaries are enrolled in 222 plans affected by the rule.
The American Nurses Association has appointed Geraldine Marullo, deputy director of the Hawaii Health Department, as its new executive director. Ms. Marullo, 43, will assume her new post on Jan. 1, 1995. She replaces Shirley Girouard, who left the position in April.