Champion Healthcare Corp., Houston, reported an 88% drop in net income to $177,000 for the first quarter ended March 31, compared with $1.5 million in the year-ago period. Revenues grew 123% to $54.8 million. The net income figure doesn't include noncash preferred stock dividends of $1.5 million. With that included, the company reported a net loss of $1.3 million, or 31 cents per share, compared with net income of $345,000, or 21 cents per share, in the year-ago period. Because the dividends affect earnings per share, the company said it is working on a capital restructuring plan to convert the preferred stock to common stock. Champion operates nine hospitals in seven states.
Seattle nurses locked in a contract dispute with the Northwest's largest HMO will appeal a dismissal of two unfair labor practice charges by the National Labor Relations Board. District 1199NW of the Service Employees International Union had alleged that Group Health Cooperative of Puget Sound failed to bargain in good faith and locked out nurses who were ready to return to work after a one-day strike March 22. The NLRB also dismissed unfair bargaining charges by Group Health against the union. Group Health will not appeal "in an effort to ease a return to the bargaining table and constructive negotiations," the HMO said. The NLRB hasn't yet ruled on a third complaint pressed by the nurses: that Group Health is unilaterally replacing permanent union jobs with temporary workers and agency nurses. Union members have been working without a contract since June 1994. They recently rejected what Group Health called its final offer.
The Medicare Select program, which allows seniors to buy cheap Medigap coverage if they agree to join a Medicare managed-care plan, would be extended to 50 states under a plan approved last week by the Senate. The current Medicare Select pilot program, which has enrolled nearly 500,000 seniors, is available in 15 states. The program is set to expire at the end of June. The Senate bill would extend the program through the end of 1996. At that time, the program would continue indefinitely unless HHS finds it isn't saving money or has reduced quality or access. Last month, the House passed a plan that would extend the program to all states for a five-year period. The differences between the bills must be ironed out before the legislation can be sent to the president for his signature.
Hospitals performing more coronary bypass procedures report fewer patient deaths, according to a recent study of 19 Colorado hospitals. The report's findings echo those of other coronary outcomes studies. The average mortality rate at Colorado hospitals performing more than 200 coronary artery bypass grafts annually from 1990 through 1993 was 2.1%. By comparison, hospitals carrying out fewer procedures had an average mortality rate of 3.6%. The report was prepared for the Rocky Mountain Heart Consortium, a coalition of hospitals, physicians, employers and others. The researchers said it shouldn't be used to compare hospitals because of limits to the data, but it should provoke questions about the possible reasons for differences between hospitals and counties.
The University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey's 518-bed University Hospital in Newark laid off 225 of its 3,300 full-time employees last week as part of an expense-reduction plan. The reduction is expected to save $34 million in operating costs over the next 18 months. The hospital said the layoffs affect all layers of the organization. Another $10 million in savings is being sought through improvements in purchasing and operations. University Hospital also plans to close its outpatient addiction rehabilitation services program on June 30 "due to lack of state and city funding for uninsured patients."
St. Luke's Hospital, the largest hospital in Kansas City, Mo., has named G. Richard Hastings as chief executive officer. He also will serve as CEO of St. Luke's Health System, which includes 686-bed St. Luke's, two hospitals in the northern suburbs, a behavioral health center and a community hospital in Trenton, Mo. Hastings succeeds Charles C. Lindstrom, who retired.