Health Management Associates, Naples, Fla., has completed its purchase of Medical Center Hospital, Punta Gorda, Fla., from Adventist Health System/Sunbelt. The deal was announced in April, but was pending while HMA received a private letter ruling from the IRS on defeasing the bonds. The bonds were part of a larger issue by the Orlando, Fla.-based not-for-profit system. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. The hospital was part of an antitrust investigation in late 1993 when the Federal Trade Commission blocked the sale of Medical Center to Columbia/HCA Healthcare Corp., then called Columbia Healthcare Corp. (Oct. 4, 1993, p. 28). When that sale was blocked, the Adventist system decided to sell it to HMA.
A civil trial began last week in U.S. District Court in Madison, Wis., to decide whether Marshfield (Wis.) Clinic should be forced to divest its HMO and rural practice network. Blue Cross and Blue Shield United of Wisconsin sued the 400-physician group Feb. 16, claiming the clinic controls 75% of specialist physicians in 10 north and north-central Wisconsin counties (Feb. 21, p. 16; March 28, p. 33). The Milwaukee-based insurer claims Marshfield's dominance prevents it from penetrating the market and means its indemnity customers in the region pay the highest prices in the state. The clinic denies anticompetitive practices and says its fees are consistent with those of similar Midwest providers.
Portland, Ore.-based Brim has obtained $10.7 million in long-term management contracts with rural hospitals. All but one of the 15 contracts are for three years or longer, and five are new. Brim manages 62 hospitals, five of which it owns.
Ludlow (Mass.) Hospital closed its emergency department and became an urgent-care facility this month. The not-for-profit facility in western Massachusetts lost $725,000 in the fiscal year ended Sept. 30, said Edwin Thorn, chief executive officer. Originally a 75-bed hospital, it was staffed for 30 beds this year but was operating with a daily census of 14, Mr. Thorn said. The hospital transferred the last of its patients Dec. 2 and maintained a 24-hour emergency department through Dec. 7 to give ambulance drivers and the public sufficient notice. The Ludlow urgent-care facility will be open 12 hours a day while the board solicits bids from other area providers to purchase the hospital building and continue a healthcare presence in the Ludlow area, Mr. Thorn said.
EmCare raised $23 million in its public offering. The Dallas-based company sold 2.25 million shares priced at $11. The over-the-counter shares closed at $11.13 on the first day of trading. Proceeds will be used to pay debt and for acquisitions and general corporate purposes. EmCare manages 61 hospital emergency departments.
New York Insurance Superintendent Salvatore Curiale said he will resign at the end of the year. Mr. Curiale, 49, has served as the state's top insurance regulator since June 1990. He was appointed by Gov. Mario Cuomo, who was defeated in his re-election bid by George Pataki, a Republican. Mr. Curiale, whose salary is $90,832, hasn't decided on his career plans.
Wendy L. Simpson was named chief financial officer of Community Psychiatric Centers, Las Vegas. She succeeds Steven S. Weis, who resigned for personal reasons. Ms. Simpson had been CFO for the company's Transitional Hospitals Corp. subsidiary. She also is a former CFO for American Medical International, Dallas.
Germany will make its first foray into clinical risk management next year after signing a three-year contract with Deerfield, Ill.-based MMI Cos. Through its subsidiaries, MMI Risk Management Resources and Healthcare Risk Solutions Ltd., MMI will teach risk management to Ecclesia Versicherungsdienst GmbH, an insurance group run by Germany's Roman Catholic and Lutheran churches. Terms of the deal weren't disclosed. Ecclesia represents 1,200 of the country's more than 3,000 hospitals. "We see rising interest in healthcare risk management as economically developed countries begin to face issues of increasing medical liability," said Anna Hajek, president of MMI Risk Management Resources.