University Medical Center in Jacksonville, Fla., and Columbia/HCA Healthcare Corp. may be close to reaching an agreement on a deal, sources said. The Nashville, Tenn.-based hospital chain has been talking with the hospital since January. Last week a spokeswoman said only that negotiations are continuing. The 493-bed hospital is affiliated with the University of Florida and is owned by the city of Jacksonville. A private, not-for-profit corporation, University Medical Center, leases the hospital.
The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations made an "unannounced survey for cause" at 458-bed University of Kansas Medical Center in Kansas City on June 5. The facility came under fire in May for admitting patients to its heart transplant program at the same time it was turning away available hearts, claiming to have insufficient staff to undertake the operations. The chancellor of the University of Kansas has appointed a fact-finding committee to report on the situation later this summer.
Lincare Holdings has delayed the approval of its anticipated merger with Coram Healthcare Corp., Denver. Clearwater, Fla.-based Lincare indefinitely postponed a stockholder meeting scheduled for next month. Lincare said it requested more information from Coram to allow Lincare's board of directors to review its approval of the deal. The firms agreed in April to merge into the largest alternate-site healthcare provider in the United States as well as the nation's second-largest home respiratory firm.
Stricter regulation of clinical laboratories has not impeded Medicare beneficiaries' access to lab services, according to a study released late last week. But HHS' inspector general's office said implementation of the 1992 Clinical Laboratory Improvement Act has been partly to blame for the closing of some physician office labs. Some 18 of the 232 physician practices surveyed closed their labs. Fourteen cited CLIA or other regulations as part or all of the reason. Organized medicine to date has lobbied unsuccessfully to repeal the law or lessen its restrictions on physician labs.