Kansas Attorney General Carla Stovall last week said an extensive investigation into the University of Kansas Medical Center's now-defunct heart transplant program revealed many violations of the state's consumer protection law. Stovall said the medical center and two foundations associated with it have agreed to pay $265,000 to settle the claims. She said while the medical center, located in Kansas City, Kan., doesn't legally admit guilt, it does accept responsibility for problems in the program. Fifteen patients or their families who had been on the heart-transplant list will receive $11,000 each. Five of the 15 patients have died. Stovall said the investigation concluded that between February 1994 and April 1995 many patients in the heart transplant program were not told of its serious problems. "We found that heart donors were consistently being refused for nonmedical reasons," she said. In the agreement, the medical center strongly denied all the allegations but said it's in the best interests of the hospital, its employees, patients and programs to resolve the issue. The Kansas Board of Regents closed the program in April 1995.
Mount St. Mary's Hospital of Niagara Falls in Lewiston, N.Y., will be sold to Daughters of Charity National Health System, the nation's largest Roman Catholic healthcare system. A definitive agreement signed last week calls for the sponsor of Mount St. Mary's, Williamsville, N.Y.-based Sisters of St. Francis, to transfer assets to Daughters of Charity in the first quarter of 1997. The 150 members of the Sisters of St. Francis are getting out of the healthcare business and will use proceeds from the sale to fund new ministries. Terms of the deal weren't disclosed. The deal will give Daughters of Charity a second hospital in the region, which includes Sisters of Charity Hospital 20 miles north in Buffalo.
California hospitals have told HCFA that rates demanded by some HMOs that will serve Medi-Cal enrollees in the L.A. Care program are too low. The program has contracted with five commercial HMOs to serve 800,000 enrollees beginning in December as part of the state's plan to move Medicaid recipients into managed care. "The program started off being fundamentally flawed," since the state has said it will pay plans a capitated rate of $73.31 per month, which is actuarially unsound, said Jim Lott, senior vice president at the Healthcare Association of Southern California. L.A. Care is withholding 9% of that rate, and HMOs are allowed to keep as much as 15%. The HASC wants the program to contract directly with hospitals to eliminate HMOs' cut. But that won't happen until L.A. Care has an HMO license-in about three years.