LANSING, Mich.-Sparrow Hospital has decided to replace one of its aging radiation therapy units despite a protest from a local business alliance. The Capital Area Health Alliance said the $2.3 million project could create overcapacity and lead to inappropriate utilization. The alliance wants Sparrow to share a new unit being installed on the campus of its competitor, Michigan Capital Healthcare; that unit will be operated by a consortium of Michigan Capital, Michigan State University and University of Michigan Medical Center. The alliance said it endorsed the consortium's request for a certificate of need to add the unit last year because of the universities' involvement. However, Sparrow has been the community's sole provider of radiation therapy since the 1960s and doesn't want to yield that service, said Joseph Wald, Sparrow's director of community relations. He said Sparrow's other two units will need to be replaced within four years. Michigan Capital has been negotiating to sell all its assets to Columbia/HCA Healthcare Corp.; a deal to sell just half its assets to Columbia was blocked in court. Sparrow's new unit will be installed by year-end.
DETROIT-Detroit Medical Center announced a series of initiatives to reduce adjusted costs per discharge by 20% over the next three years. The measures include eliminating 2,500 positions, or about 16% of its work force of 16,094 full- and part-time employees. That will include 30% of the management staff and 15% of the nonmanagement staff, the system said. More than half the positions will be eliminated through turnover and retirement. DMC hopes to reduce costs and increase revenues by $250 million over the next three years. For 1996, it anticipates total revenues of $1.4 billion. The cost reductions will help fund major investments in programs and services, information systems and the system's ambulatory-care network. DMC officials said the center is developing best practices to improve service and patient care and will eliminate 360 beds by relocating services on its central Detroit campus. The system operates seven hospitals, 45 outpatient facilities and two nursing centers in southeast Michigan.
COLUMBUS, Ohio-The Ohio Supreme Court ruled 4-3 that St. Francis-St. George Hospital in Cincinnati cannot be held liable for medical costs incurred by an 82-year-old man after he was resuscitated against his wishes. The decision overturned an appeals court ruling that the hospital could be held liable for medical expenses during the 22 months that Edward Winter lived after being resuscitated by a nurse in 1988. Two days after being revived Winter suffered a stroke that left him partially paralyzed. One judge in the majority wrote that, short of ignoring a living will or a durable power of attorney for healthcare, medical professionals should not be held liable for carrying out the mission for which they were trained. The Ohio Hospital Association and the Ohio State Medical Association filed a brief urging the court to rule in favor of the hospital. The incident occurred before Ohio enacted a living-will law. In its newsletter, the hospital association alerted its members that the judge who wrote the appeals court decision against the hospital, Marianna Brown Bettman, is running for a term on the state Supreme Court.