Arcon HealthCare, a new Nashville, Tenn.-based management company headed by a group of former Healthtrust executives (Dec. 18-25, 1995, p. 36), will build a 24-hour urgent-care and outpatient surgery center in Destin, Fla. Local officials in Destin have been seeking a healthcare facility since 1994, when Columbia/HCA Healthcare Corp. closed 50-bed Destin Hospital, leading the state to revoke the hospital's license. Last October, after Hurricane Opal struck north Florida, Columbia reopened the hospital as a walk-in physician clinic (Oct. 30, 1995, p. 82). Arcon said its $4 million health center will open this fall. It will provide primary care and such ancillary services as radiology and laboratory. Because the facility will be staffed by a physician on a 24-hour basis, ambulances will transport emergency patients there, said David Williamson, Arcon's vice president of development.
The Itasca County Board of Commissioners in Grand Rapids, Minn., has put 73-bed Itasca County Medical Center up for sale. The hospital, which also has 35 skilled-nursing beds, is located about 200 miles north of the Twin Cities. It earned about $1.1 million on net revenues of $19.1 million in the 11 months ended Nov. 30, 1995, according to unaudited data. It has assets of about $17.4 million. The board wants a buyer that will develop a countywide health system with physicians and two neighboring hospitals, said Susan Clark, senior manager at McGladrey & Pullen, a Minneapolis-based consulting firm that's coordinating the request for proposals. An information session will be held Jan. 16. Submissions are due March 29.
In a 5-2 decision of significance to California healthcare providers, the California Supreme Court ruled last week that a hospital is not liable for most sexual assaults by an employee against a patient, unless the hospital has been found negligent. The decision supports similar rulings in other states and applies more widely to the liability of any employer for any employee misconduct, said David Ettinger, the attorney who represented Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital, Valencia, Calif., in the case. A female emergency patient sued the hospital after she was sexually molested by a medical technician in 1989. The technician previously pleaded no contest when prosecuted for the crime.
In what it describes as the largest service contract of its kind in the industry, Marriott Health Care Services will assume control of a variety of support services for Sharp HealthCare of San Diego. Sharp will outsource payroll, food preparation, environmental services, linen, engineering and grounds maintenance. Some 800 Sharp employees will be switched to the Marriott payroll. Sharp's goal was to concentrate its own payroll on core functions: patient care and wellness. Outsourcing ancillary departments should save Sharp between $2.5 million and $3 million in 1996, while providing job security for employees, said Judith Pierce, a Sharp spokeswoman. Marriott will provide services to all Sharp's hospital locations. Sharp's integrated regional system includes six acute-care hospitals and one specialty hospital in San Diego, Imperial and Riverside counties. It employs 10,000 people and has 2,200 affiliated physicians. Sharp is in negotiations to sell a 50% interest to Columbia/HCA Healthcare Corp.