SOMERVILLE, Mass.-Somerville Hospital completed the purchase of Heritage Hospital, also in Somerville, from First Hospital Corp., a chain of for-profit psychiatric and substance-abuse treatment facilities based in Norfolk, Va., for $935,000. Although Heritage is licensed for 46 adult psychiatric beds and 47 medical/surgical beds for chemical-dependency treatment, most of the facility was not used, said a spokesman for Somerville Hospital. The inpatient substance-abuse program at Heritage will be relocated to Somerville, which is less than a mile away, leaving outpatient services at the newly acquired facility, the spokesman said. Somerville, which is executing a merger with Cambridge (Mass.) Hospital (July 31, 1995, p. 18), also may use the facility to provide temporary space during a planned building program at Cambridge.
SPRINGFIELD, Mass.-A for-profit company specializing in subacute and long-term care agreed to purchase Springfield Municipal Hospital for $3.5 million plus a commitment to spend $6 million on renovating the 60-year-old facility. Olympus Healthcare Group, a 2-year-old company based in Westborough, Mass., plans to emphasize subacute and transitional care as well as develop an outpatient rehabilitation center and continue the hospital's long-term-care operations, said Robert Lussier, Olympus director of communications. Springfield Municipal is a chronic-care and rehabilitation hospital with psychiatric and long-term-care units, said Administrator Marilyn Riddle. The city-owned facility typically hasn't covered its costs, and officials had decided in February 1994 to get out of the healthcare business. An election intervened in November 1995, involving a change in mayors, but the hospital's board lobbied for a sale and the city decided to take bids on the facility in December 1995, Riddle said. The proposed change in ownership requires state determination-of-need approval before the closing, which is projected to be completed by Nov. 30.
PHILADELPHIA-The Center for Health Policy at the University of Pennsylvania's Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics has created a faculty fellowship program in partnership with HHS' inspector general's office. Under an agreement inked earlier this month, university faculty will assist the inspector general's Philadelphia regional office of evaluations and inspections in evaluating Medicare, Medicaid and other federally financed health programs. In exchange, faculty members will have research access to federal databases. They also receive a nominal fee of $100 per inspection. The 600-physician faculty practice plan affiliated with Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania was the first to settle fraudulent Medicare billing charges as part of a nationwide probe of teaching hospital billing practices (Dec. 18/25, 1995, p. 17). The inspector general's office and the U.S. Justice Department are conducting the investigation. The fellowship program follows an existing internship with the inspector general through which graduate and undergraduate students provide data collection and analysis. The inspector general intends to replicate both programs at other universities, said Lowell Arye, the Center for Health Policy's associate director.