Columbia/HCA Healthcare Corp. announced the closure of Columbia HEB Hospital, a 200-bed facility in Bedford, Texas. The hospital will stop accepting patients this week, and remaining patients will be transferred to a nearby Columbia facility, Columbia North Hills Hospital in North Richland Hills, Texas. Management of the two hospitals already had been consolidated under one chief executive officer. The closure will affect 290 workers. Columbia HEB is the third hospital the Nashville, Tenn.-based chain has closed in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. Columbia operates 16 hospitals and eight surgery centers in north Texas.
Ernest Bacon was named executive vice president and chief operating officer of Community Health Systems, a Brentwood, Tenn.-based chain of 42 hospitals in 18 states. Bacon formerly was COO of the Georgia division of Columbia/HCA Healthcare Corp. In addition, Community said Tyree Wilburn was named executive vice president and chief financial and development officer. Wilburn previously was senior vice president of acquisitions and development. Wilburn will take on the additional role of CFO in the wake of the resignation of Deborah Moffett. Moffett decided not to relocate from Houston, where the company's corporate offices previously were located, the company said.
Woodland Hills, Calif.-based Health Systems International will acquire Advantage Health, a managed-care company in Pittsburgh, from St. Francis Health System for $12.5 million in cash. Advantage Health, with 60,000 enrollees, includes Pennsylvania Health Care Plan, a PPO and third-party administrator; Central Medical Health Plans, a Pennsylvania HMO; and Health Guard, an HMO operating in eastern Ohio and West Virginia. The acquisition continues HSI's strategy of expansion in the East. The deal, which is subject to regulatory approval, is expected to close in the third quarter of this year.
Birmingham, Ala.-based HealthSouth Corp. last week signed a definitive agreement to acquire Professional Sports Care Management for $67 million. PSCM, based in Harrison, N.Y., operates 36 outpatient rehabilitation facilities in Connecticut, New Jersey and New York. Combined, the two publicly traded firms have more than 900 outpatient surgery and rehabilitative facilities in 45 states. The deal is subject to various regulatory approvals. "This will strengthen our ability to market our national network to insurers, managed-care organizations and large self-insured employers," said Richard Scrushy, HealthSouth chairman and chief executive officer.
Tenet Healthcare Corp. completed the sale of its 42% stake in Westminster Health Care Holdings, a London-based nursing home chain, for $120 million. The sale completes the hospital chain's plan to sell noncore assets and refocus on its domestic hospitals. The Santa Barbara, Calif.-based company operates 75 hospitals in 13 states.
Corning will spin off its 14-year-old clinical laboratory division, which it blames for a 9.6% drop in first-quarter earnings. The division is the nation's second-largest operator of clinical labs with annual revenues of $1.6 billion. Corning, best known for its housewares, also plans to spin off its pharmaceutical-services operation, a $400 million annual business that works with drug manufacturers. It expects to complete the transactions by year-end. The company previously considered selling its laboratory business, and SmithKline Beecham was mentioned as a potential buyer, according to Associated Press reports. Corning, like many laboratory operators, has been hit hard by managed care and faces a federal probe of billing practices. For example, Corning recently agreed to pay about $6.7 million to settle fraud charges against a laboratory firm it acquired (March 4, p. 46)