WASHINGTON-The District of Columbia would nearly halve the number of beds at District of Columbia General Hospital and cut Medicaid benefits under a budget proposal by Mayor-elect Marion Barry. By reducing D.C. General to 250 beds, the district could save $8 million in the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 1995, while reducing Medicaid benefits could save $25 million. Mr. Barry's plan would cut spending by $431 million as part of an effort to show that the district is putting its fiscal house in order as it seeks loans. D.C. General, which ran a $32 million deficit in the last fiscal year, has announced it will lay off 10% of its work force by January 1995.
WILSON, N.C.-An employer group formed by the Pitt-Greenville Chamber of Commerce has won the right to form a health purchasing alliance that would allow small businesses in eastern North Carolina to buy health coverage as a group. The proposal by the Chambers of Eastern North Carolina, which includes chambers of commerce in 39 counties, was approved last week. The State Health Purchasing Alliance, meeting in Wilson, gave the chamber group approval. But it rejected a similar proposal from a chamber organization from Washington, N.C. The Greenville group was chosen because it's composed mainly of businesses with fewer than 50 employees-the state alliance board's target market-while the Washington proposal was weighted more toward bigger employers. "I think the dominant factor came down to which had the grass-roots support," Lt. Gov. Dennis Wicker, the board's chairman, said after the meeting. The Greenville organization will receive a grant from the board to help start its operations. Once the alliance is up and running, which isn't expected before April 1995, small employers will be able to get alliance-sponsored health coverage for their workers from any of the participating insurers or health carriers. Those insurers haven't been chosen, but five health plans have applied to the board to offer coverage in at least part of the state.-Associated Press