Several Kentucky hospital systems announced plans last week to enter into talks with Blue Cross and Blue Shield that could lead to a jointly owned managed-care company. The hospitals and Southeastern Group, which operates Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Kentucky, are interested in creating a partnership that would bid for state insurance business under Kentucky's new healthcare insurance reform laws, said Alliant Health System spokeswoman Charlotte Tharp. The partnership also would seek commercial insurance business. The hospital systems involved are Alliant, Baptist Healthcare System, Sisters of Charity of Nazareth Health System, St. Elizabeth Medical Center's three northern Kentucky hospitals and Kentucky Health Network. All but Kentucky Health Network, which serves western Kentucky, already have entered into agreements with each other, Tharp said. Separate talks are under way to bring Kentucky Health Network into the group.
Donna Williams was named top executive of the National Rural Health Association at the group's annual meeting last week in Atlanta. Williams, who has more than 10 years' experience on the NRHA's staff, replaces Walter Pidgeon, who stepped down last December after two years as executive director. Williams will be executive vice president. The NRHA board changed the top executive's title at the meeting, patterning itself after other organizations, such as the American Medical Association, that are led by a volunteer board. Harold Brown, chief executive officer at 44-bed Prairie du Chien (Wis.) Hospital, was elected board president, as expected.
Ronald J. Del Mauro was elected chairman of the board of the New Jersey Hospital Association at the association's annual meeting in Atlantic City last week. Del Mauro is president and chief executive officer of 597-bed Saint Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston, N.J.
Bergen Brunswig Corp. and Baxter International have linked up to distribute drugs and medical supplies more efficiently to Baylor Health Care System. The agreement is the latest example of how relationships among manufacturers, distributors and healthcare providers are growing closer. Terms weren't disclosed. Under the agreement, Bergen Brunswig, a large drug distributor, will use its information system to manage inventory and supply ordering. Baylor will decide if Bergen Brunswig or Baxter should complete the delivery. Working closely with manufacturers, the distributors will create forecasts for supply use, handle billing and manage the flow of goods to the departments that use them. Dallas-based Baylor, with 10 hospitals and 2,300 licensed beds, is the largest hospital network in the Southwest.
A second severance package aimed at eliminating 1,500 positions by June 30 was offered last week to employees of the New York City Health and Hospitals Corp. (See related story, p. 17). The buyouts include six months of health benefits and cash settlements ranging from $3,150 for employees with less than one year of service to $15,000 for those with more than 25 years of service. Employees have until June 2 to accept the latest offer. HHC and the city are funding the package through a deal struck last fall (Nov. 14, 1994, p. 14). HHC operates the nation's largest municipal healthcare system with 11 acute-care and five long-term-care hospitals.
A new report published by the federal Agency for Health Care Policy and Research tells how to use clinical practice guidelines to evaluate quality of care. The report was put together by an 18-member panel of experts that focused primarily on guidelines supported by the AHCPR, said Stephen C. Schoenbaum, co-chairman of the work group and medical director of the New England division of Harvard Community Health Plan in Providence, R.I. The methods explained in the report can be applied to other practice guidelines as well, Schoenbaum said. The AHCPR, an arm of the U.S. Public Health Service, was created to examine medical practices, determine their value and cost-effectiveness, and support the development of guidelines. The report, called Using Clinical Practice Guidelines to Evaluate Quality of Care, shows users how to translate those guidelines into medical review criteria, performance measures and standards of quality to measure and evaluate the degree to which guidelines are being implemented, the agency said.