Anne Bingaman, who has headed the U.S. Justice Department's antitrust division since June 1993, announced her resignation last week, effective Nov. 15. Bingaman, 53, said she's leaving for personal reasons and returning to private legal practice. During her tenure, the healthcare industry has undergone a period of unparalleled merger and acquisition activity with little antitrust interference from the Justice Department. Bingaman also led the effort by the Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission to develop the first-ever healthcare antitrust "safety zone" guidelines, which were released in 1993 and expanded in 1994.
The University of Cincinnati Board of Trustees voted 6-3 last week to approve in principle a plan to convert University of Cincinnati Hospital to an independent not-for-profit. The decision is subject to a final vote after additions and corrections to legal documents. The new not-for-profit corporation, which will lease the 695-bed hospital for $1 a year, is expected to begin operation Jan. 1, 1997. However, the university must defend a lawsuit filed just before the vote by 12 taxpayers who want to block the privatization plan. The university had no comment on the suit except to say that lawyers are reviewing it. The hospital wants freedom from rules governing state agencies that it says raise its costs and prevent it from being a full partner in the Health Alliance of Greater Cincinnati, a consortium of four hospitals. Opposition to privatization has stemmed from union workers fearing cuts in pay and benefits and advocates for indigent care.
Mariner Health Group, a post-acute provider based in New London, Conn., has signed a $110 million agreement to acquire Allegis Health Services in Calverton, Md. Allegis owns or leases eight skilled-nursing facilities and manages three hospital-based skilled-nursing units in the Mid-Atlantic region. It reported annual revenues of $68.7 million at the end of May. After the deal is completed, Mariner will operate 78 inpatient centers, 57 outpatient clinics and five home-care agencies.
The chief executive of one of Columbia/HCA Healthcare Corp.'s three largest hospitals resigned, effective Aug. 1. Jim Kelly, 44, president and CEO of 760-bed Columbia Wesley Medical Center in Wichita, Kan., said he needed personal and professional change in his life. Kevin Gross, Columbia's Midwest region president, will take over as interim CEO.
Brentwood, Tenn.-based Quorum Health Group last week entered into a lease agreement to operate 78-bed Williamsburg County Memorial Hospital in Kingtree, S.C. Terms of the agreement weren't disclosed. Williamsburg County becomes Quorum's fourth hospital owned or operated by the investor-owned company in South Carolina.
U.S. Diagnostic Labs, based in West Palm Beach, Fla., has signed an agreement to acquire Medical Imaging Centers of America in San Diego for $11.75 per share, or about $40 million in cash. The acquisition is expected to be completed in about 45 days, after approval by MICA shareholders. MICA put itself up for auction earlier this year after reaching a settlement in a proxy fight with Steel Partners, a New York-based investment firm that had made a hostile takeover bid for the company. Under the settlement, MICA was given time to find another suitor. MICA owns 17 diagnostic-imaging centers and one radiation oncology center and has about $36 million in annualized revenues. U.S. Diagnostic currently manages 50 facilities in 12 states.