Stockholders of both Horizon Healthcare Corp., Albuquerque, N.M., and Mechanicsburg, Pa.-based Continental Medical Systems last week approved the previously announced merger of the two companies. Each share of CMS will be converted into 0.54 share of Horizon common stock. The deal, valued at approximately $380 million, is expected to close soon, Horizon said. The combined company, which will be named Horizon/CMS Healthcare Corp., will operate 37 rehabilitation hospitals and 125 long-term-care centers with a total of 18,972 beds.
Morton Plant Mease Health Care and St. Joseph's-St. Anthony's Health System, two of Tampa, Fla.'s largest hospital groups, are considering a plan to merge services, executives said. Under the proposed plan, the two not-for-profit hospital companies would merge administrative support services such as purchasing, laboratories and research. However, the hospitals would not merge assets, a St. Joseph's-St. Anthony's spokeswoman said. Last year, the U.S. Justice Department prevented a full merger of Morton Plant Hospital and Mease Healthcare. In a settlement, the two hospital groups were allowed to combine several clinical and administrative services. Morton Plant Mease operates three hospitals with 1,095 beds in northern Pinellas County. St. Joseph's-St. Anthony's is a three-campus system with four hospitals and 1,310 licensed beds in Hillsborough County. It is part of five-hospital Allegany Health Systems, Tampa.
Two stand-alone hospitals in the Cleveland area have found partners. In one deal, Richmond Heights (Ohio) General Hospital, a 220-bed osteopathic facility, will affiliate with Mount Sinai Health Care System in Cleveland, with a goal of merging into the Mount Sinai system in two years. The deal will strengthen Mount Sinai's east-side presence and funnel managed-care patients to Richmond Heights General, which lost $5.5 million in 1992 and 1993, the most recent years for which data are available, according to HCIA, a Baltimore-based healthcare information company. The organizations will integrate services, appoint representatives on each other's boards and offer joint privileges for medical staff. Mount Sinai will open an obstetrics unit at Richmond Heights General to compete with services offered by Meridia Health System and Lake Hospital System. Also, trustees for 169-bed Geauga Hospital in Chardon, Ohio, voted to merge with University Hospitals Health System in Cleveland by Aug. 31. It's the second acquisition for University Hospitals, which bought the former Community Hospital of Bedford (Ohio) in January 1994.
Funding for federal AIDS initiatives, including the Ryan White Care Act, which funnels federal dollars into hospitals and cities that have been hardest hit by the AIDS epidemic, became snarled in politics last week. The reauthorization of the Ryan White program has been held up in the Senate by Sen. Jesse Helms (R-N.C.), who said recently in a New York Times interview that funding for AIDS programs should be cut because the disease is "transmitted by people deliberately engaging in unnatural acts." Funding for the program is scheduled to run out at the end of September unless it is first reauthorized and funded. The Clinton administration budget called for $723 million in fiscal 1996 funding for the Ryan White program, a $90 million increase from 1995. President Clinton responded to Helms' remarks by saying the reauthorization of the program should not be held up "by divisive arguments about how people contracted the disease." House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) said he supported reauthorizing the Ryan White Act, although he didn't say at what funding level.
At least 30 women unknowingly provided eggs at fertility clinics affiliated with the University of California, the school said last week. "Basically, we really can't determine at this point how many births occurred due to those possible transfers," said Fran Tardiff, a university spokeswoman. The university released a report of its investigation into the clinic last week after hand-delivering it over the July 4 holiday weekend to 30 patients who might have been involved in the transfers. The school closed the Center for Reproductive Health at its University of California Irvine Medical Center on June 3 after suing the three physicians who founded it. Previously, the school has said that up to five patients may have been involved. The doctors have denied any intentional wrongdoing.