The American Hospital Association said last week that three executives are candidates to become chairman of its board of trustees in 1997. They are Reginald Ballantyne III, president of PMH Health Resources, Phoenix; Charles Foster Jr., president of West Georgia Medical Center, La Grange; and John Leech, trustee of Health Hill Hospital for Children, Cleveland. Messrs. Ballantyne and Foster have lost previous bids. The AHA's House of Delegates will pick the winner in August 1995. Next year's chairman is Gail Warden, president and chief executive officer of Henry Ford Health System, Detroit. The chairman-elect will be Gordon Sprenger, executive officer of Allina Health System, Minneapolis.
The Federal Trade Commission has asked all 12 judges of the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta to reconsider the court's recent decision disallowing the agency's antitrust challenge of a proposed hospital acquisition in Lee County, Fla. Last month, a three-judge panel of the appellate court said the proposed acquisition of Cape Coral (Fla.) Hospital by Lee Memorial Hospital in Fort Myers was exempt from federal scrutiny under a special Florida statute (Dec. 12, p. 14). Meanwhile, Jay Murphy, Cape Coral's former chief financial officer, pleaded guilty last week in federal court to one count of federal theft. Mr. Murphy, who was fired in June along with two other top hospital executives after an audit uncovered financial irregularities, also has agreed to cooperate with an ongoing federal investigation of the hospital's former president, J. Michael Ward, and Daniel Edgar, its former chief operating officer. Mr. Murphy, who faces a possible fine and imprisonment, is scheduled to be sentenced next April.
Two of Nashville, Tenn.'s large not-for-profit hospitals signed an agreement last week to pursue a merger. A completed deal would give 637-bed Vanderbilt University Hospital and Clinic and 571-bed St. Thomas Hospital control of nearly 40% of the city's inpatient market. When collaboration talks began nine months earlier, the hospitals said a merger wasn't on the table (April 4, p. 49). Now they say jointly operating the facilities under one board and management team is the best way to eliminate duplicative services and reduce operating costs.
Physician-led Mullikin Medical Centers, a managed-care group based in Long Beach, Calif., has retained Smith Barney, an investment banking firm, to find a capital partner, according to a published report. Mullikin officials refused to comment on the report in American Medical News, which quotes a senior regional administrator denying that the 400-physician business is for sale. The executive said Mullikin is seeking a partner, which would permit network growth and improve competition while allowing doctors to remain autonomous.
The board of regents of the University of Michigan, which operates the University of Michigan Hospitals, last week approved the formation of a not-for-profit holding company to create and supervise a statewide managed-care network called Michigan Health Corp. Start-up costs are estimated at $50 million to $100 million. Desire to increase patient referrals, stiffer competition from managed-care companies and the need to buttress a growing commitment to primary care are reasons for creating the company, the university said.
Rose Medical Center in Denver dropped out of a nascent hospital network last week to negotiate a sale to Columbia/HCA Healthcare Corp. The 255-bed hospital would be Columbia/HCA's third hospital in the Denver area (See related story. p. 10). It operates 180-bed Aurora (Colo.) Regional Medical Center and 160-bed North Suburban Medical Center in Thornton. Meanwhile, the remaining members of the network reaffirmed their commitment to its development.
A management consulting firm with which Columbia/HCA Healthcare Corp. has contracted for high-profile healthcare studies will buy the chain's Destin (Fla.) Hospital. HMD Healthcare Corp., St. Petersburg, Fla., last week signed a letter of intent to buy the hospital, which has been closed since August.