Forty-nine hospitals from a 31-county area in central Pennsylvania have been invited to participate in the launch of the Orion Project, an initiative of the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations designed to create a continuous accreditation process on a regional level. The JCAHO said the project initially will test the feasibility and acceptance of regional representatives, who will establish ongoing relationships with accredited organizations, replacing the current episodic contacts. The JCAHO has appointed Patricia Bullard Speak as regional administrator. Previously an administrative surveyor, she has 17 years of experience in acute-care, long-term-care and rehabilitation settings.
Columbia/HCA Healthcare Corp. completed its acquisition of Rose Health Care System, Denver. While terms weren't disclosed, the sale price has been estimated at more than $200 million (March 27, p. 15). The acquisition includes 255-bed Rose Medical Center, 14 outpatient centers and two physician offices. Columbia now owns 321 hospitals, four of them in the Denver area.
Bon Secours Health System has agreed to acquire Richmond (Va.) Community Hospital. A letter of intent was approved by the boards of both not-for-profit organizations. The company expects to close the deal within 45 days. Financial terms were not disclosed. Samuel F. Lillard will remain chief executive officer at Richmond Community. The 104-bed hospital is the second Richmond facility Bon Secours acquired in the past year. The Marriottsville, Md.-based company bought 153-bed Stuart Circle Hospital from Quorum Health Group last May. Bon Secours operates seven hospitals and other healthcare facilities in five states. Its other operations in Richmond include 391-bed Bon Secours-St. Mary's Hospital and Virginia HealthSource, its for-profit arm.
The elective surgery ban at the second campus of University Community Hospital in Tampa, Fla., was lifted last week as the hospital was fined $195,000 by state regulators. Two weeks ago, the state fined University Community's main campus $341,000 for several medical errors. Elective surgery at both campuses has resumed. However, state officials have ordered University Community to reduce surgeries by 25% for an indefinite time. Norm Stein, University Community's president and chief executive officer, said the surgery reduction will give the hospital time to adjust to its new quality-assurance procedures. He said surgery volume has increased at a faster rate at University Community than at its competitors over the last two years. "We have not sacrificed quality for profitability," Stein said.
U.S. Surgical Corp. reported net income of $14 million, or 17 cents per share, in its first quarter ended March 31, compared with a loss of $8 million, or 14 cents per share, in the year-ago period. Sales rose 6% to $241 million. The Norwalk, Conn.-based company makes surgical supplies such as sutures and staplers. Last year it completed a $138 million restructuring as U.S. sales dropped. Revenues still lag behind previous quarterly sales, which once topped $300 million.
Quorum Health Group, a Brentwood, Tenn.-based hospital chain, posted a 38% increase in profits for the third quarter ended March 31 to $16.1 million, or 33 cents per share, from $11.7 million, or 29 cents per share, in the year-ago quarter. Revenues rose 20% to $227.5 million. For the nine-month period, the company reported a 61% increase in profits to $41.4 million, or 84 cents per share, from $25.7 million, or 66 cents per share, in the year-ago period. Revenues increased 36% to $619.5 million. During the third quarter, Quorum completed the purchase of 424-bed Carolinas Hospital System, Florence, S.C. Quorum owns 12 hospitals and manages more than 250.
Baxter International reported an 11% increase in net income for the first quarter ended March 31 to $145 million, or 52 cents per share, from $131 million, or 47 cents per share, in the year-ago period. Worldwide sales rose 6% to $2.3 billion. The Deerfield, Ill.-based hospital supplier said the December 1994 sale of its diagnostics manufacturing business will slow sales growth throughout the year. Its bottom line, however, reflects continued reductions in marketing and administrative expenses, which dropped to 18.3% of sales from 20.1% a year ago. In the first quarter, Baxter took a $40 million charge to cover the estimated claims of women who opted out of the global settlement for breast implant litigation.