RICHMOND, Va.-In an unusual hospital partnership, a former university hospital, a not-for-profit specialty hospital and a for-profit hospital chain have formed a joint venture to build an ambulatory surgery complex in Richmond's southwest suburbs. The 30,000-square-foot complex, known as Richmond Medical Commons, will be a replacement facility for the specialty hospital, Richmond Eye and Ear Hospital. Under the plan, the hospital will turn in its license for 60 inpatient beds, and patients who need inpatient care will go to one of the hospital's two partners. The hospital's partners in the $7.4 million venture are Columbia/HCA Healthcare Corp., which owns five hospitals in the Richmond market, and Medical College of Virginia Hospitals, which recently broke from Virginia Commonwealth University to become its own hospital authority (June 17, p. 42). Richmond Eye and Ear and Columbia each will have a 40% stake in the new venture, and MCV will hold the remaining 20% share. Juliann Donovan Wareham, a spokeswoman for Richmond Eye and Ear, said the hospitals expect to receive certificate-of-need approval for the proj-ect from the state by December. She also said approval is pending from the Internal Revenue Service, which will determine the impact of the joint venture on the tax-exempt status of both Richmond Eye and Ear and MCV.
CLEVELAND, Tenn.-The 14-member Bradley County (Tenn.) Commission last week voted 12-0, with two commissioners not voting, to reject an offer from Erlanger Medical Center, Chattanooga, Tenn., to buy county-owned Bradley Memorial Hospital in Cleveland for $90.5 million. The motion passed by the commission said the 196-bed facility "is not for sale or lease to any other health system." Dewayne Belew, a Bradley Memorial spokesman, said the county didn't say whether it would consider offers in the future. But he said it was clear from the vote that the county wants to keep the hospital independent for some time to come. Meanwhile, it's the second time this year that an offer by Erlanger, a 534-bed public hospital, to buy a competing facility was rejected. In January, 296-bed Memorial Hospital, also in Chattanooga, turned down Erlanger's $154 million buyout offer (Jan. 15, p. 8). At deadline, Erlanger executives had not responded to an interview request.
BALTIMORE-HelixCare has purchased the 35 primary-care practices of Physicians Planning Group from Coastal Physician Group, a management company based in Durham, N.C. The purchase of Physicians Planning increases the number of HelixCare's physicians to 95. It also adds 40,000 patients that Physicians Planning covers through contracts with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Maryland, increasing HelixCare's covered lives to 110,000. Physicians Planning Group has six locations in the greater Baltimore area and manages two independent practice association sites in Baltimore and suburban Carroll County. HelixCare is the for-profit physician network owned by the not-for-profit Helix Health system, which owns five hospitals in Baltimore.