The Wisconsin Hospital Association could be next in a long line of groups restructuring for their changing memberships. The WHA board last year endorsed revamping the association's membership and governance structure to absorb a greater variety of providers, and the full WHA membership is to vote on the matter Feb. 15. Under the proposal, the association will have four membership categories: independent hospitals, regional systems, local systems and corporate medical providers. It also will increase at-large representatives, so it will be more flexible as new types of provider organizations emerge, said Robert Taylor, WHA president. "Our governance must reflect whatever the breakout of the membership ultimately becomes," Taylor said. Half the 137 hospitals in WHA are part of some type of system, but the current WHA structure doesn't allow system executives much role in governance, he said.
Oak Brook, Ill-based Advocate Health Care announced an agreement that could lead to a formal affiliation with 298-bed SwedishAmerican Hospital in Rockford. The deal had been expected but isn't likely to begin as a full-asset merger like other Advocate hospital transactions (Jan. 15, p. 14). A definitive affiliation agreement still needs approval of both organizations' boards. With SwedishAmerican, Advocate would have nine hospitals, including seven that are fully merged into the system. Advocate projects its 1996 net revenues will be $1.4 billion. The system has $1.6 billion in assets.
The parent board of Floyd Medical Center in Rome, Ga., has removed the chairman of the hospital. Chairman B.G. Early of Floyd Healthcare Management, which manages the 302-bed public hospital, was stripped of his position by the Hospital Authority of Floyd County. During the same Jan. 15 meeting, William Waters, the hospital's president and chief executive officer of 12 years, resigned. The suit and resignations sprang from a grand jury investigation last year into allegations that Waters and Early used their positions to win business with the hospital. Waters and Early, along with board member Michael McDougald, were sued last month by state Attorney General Michael Bowers. The suit had sought to remove the men from office unless they repaid money from "impermissible conflicts of interest." Bowers also is conducting a criminal investigation into the hospital authority. McDougald, chairman of the Hospital Authority of Floyd County, was not removed from the board. Board member Roger Sumner was selected to replace Early as chairman of Floyd Healthcare Management. Kurt Stuenkel, Floyd Medical's chief operating officer, was appointed as the hospital's chief administrative officer.
Two top leaders at Boca Raton (Fla.) Medical Center recently resigned as the 342-bed hospital began exploring new business combinations. Last month, Nat West, president and chief executive officer of Boca Raton Community Hospital Corp., the parent organization of the hospital, resigned after nine years. West was unavailable for comment. Earlier this month, Peter Blum, chairman of the board and a trustee since 1975, resigned. Randolph Pierce, the hospital's newly appointed president and CEO, said he couldn't comment on West's resignation because of a confidentiality agreement. Blum resigned because he had grown tired of hospital work after 20 years of service, the last seven years as chairman, Pierce said. Pierce acknowledged several hospital chains have approached Boca Raton Community about a possible sale. Boca Raton Community competes with 185-bed West Boca Medical Center, a for-profit hospital owned by Tenet Healthcare Corp. Sources have told MODERN HEALTHCARE that Tenet and Columbia/HCA Healthcare Corp. are among the suitors.
Community Hospital of Anderson (Ind.) and Madison County has been fined $5,000 for Indiana State Department of Health code violations, including one related to a patient's death. The hospital last week made available documents from the investigation, which included inquiries into a death that occurred after the wrong intravenous fluid was hooked up to a patient. The 207-bed hospital said it has corrected every problem cited. In its 120 years of operation, the health department has issued only two other civil fines. One of them was $80,000 in 1995 to Vermillion County Hospital in Clinton for a series of unexplained deaths still being investigated. Earlier this month, Vermillion County Hospital was denied accreditation by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations.