KANSAS CITY, Mo.-The two major "safety net" institutions here have merged their Medicaid HMOs into a joint operation called Family Health Partners, which will bid on the new Missouri Medicaid managed-care program being implemented this spring. Truman Medical Center, a 600-bed tax-supported hospital, and Children's Mercy Hospital, a 167-bed pediatric facility nearby, are both teaching hospitals for the University of Missouri-Kansas City Medical School. They collaborate on caring for the medically indigent, with Children's Mercy a subcontractor to Truman's longstanding HMO. Until this agreement was reached, Truman and Children's each had been developing separate HMOs to serve 85,000 Medicaid recipients in a seven-county area in Northwest Missouri. "Everyone is real happy about it because it will be good for Truman," said Connie Brockert, Truman's marketing director. "We won't be competing with them anymore." Truman and Children's Mercy are 50-50 equity partners in the venture, to be capitalized at $3 million to $5 million. Samuel Rodgers Community Health Center in Kansas City will be a nonequity participant. An additional 10 to 12 hospitals, plus 200 primary-care physicians and 500 specialists are expected to join Family Health Partners.
HOUSTON-The city's largest hospital will take over sponsorship of one of the region's best-known marathon races. Methodist Hospital System will assume the role of title sponsor of what has been known as the Houston Tenneco Marathon. The marathon, which involves more than 6,000 runners and 6,000 volunteers, started in 1972 and is the longest-running marathon to offer prize money, officials said. Tenneco, the parent company of the race's longtime sponsor, Tenneco Energy, moved its headquarters from Houston to Greenwich, Conn., this month. Although Tenneco Energy will remain in Houston, it is expected to be spun off as an independent company. "Deciding to sponsor the Houston Marathon may have been the easiest decision we at Methodist have made in a long time," said Larry Mathis, the system's president and chief executive officer. "The benefits to both the community and to our organization were immediately obvious." Cost of the sponsorship was unavailable.