TAMPA, Fla.-Seven not-for-profit hospitals in the Tampa Bay area have formed a network to offer PPO products to self-insured companies and other employers.
The CareFirst Health Network also contracted with four other hospitals in the Tampa area and with Shands Hospital at the University of Florida, a Gainesville teaching hospital.
In addition, more than 1,000 physicians have joined the network, CareFirst President William Norsworthy said.
CareFirst is expected to compete with Columbia/HCA Healthcare Corp.'s nine-hospital network serving the same market.
If Columbia/HCA's acquisition of Healthtrust occurs as planned, Columbia/HCA will operate 12 of the Tampa area's 34 hospitals.
CareFirst replaces a three-hospital network called SunHealth Care Plans-Gulf Coast, whose founding hospitals are part of Charlotte, N.C.-based SunHealth Alliance, Norsworthy said.
CareFirst hospitals are Bayfront Medical Center, St. Anthony's Hospital and All Children's Hospital, all in St. Petersburg; St. Joseph's Hospital, St. Joseph's Women's Hospital, University Community Hospital and University Community Hospital-Carrollwood, all in Tampa; Mease Countryside Hospital, Safety Harbor; Mease Dunedin Hospital, Dunedin; Morton Plant Hospital, Clearwater; and South Florida Baptist Hospital, Plant City.
CareFirst has 60,000 employees and their dependents under various SunHealth Care PPO contracts.