RALEIGH, N.C.-In an advisory opinion issued last month, the North Carolina attorney general's office said provider networks can directly contract on a risk basis with self-insured employers. The opinion breaks with previous policy statements by North Carolina's insurance department, creating a new opportunity for provider networks to enter into risk-sharing arrangements with some employers, said Thomas Stukes, a healthcare attorney in the Greensboro, N.C., office of Smith Helms Mulliss & Moore. Durham (N.C.) Regional Hospital sought the opinion from the attorney general's office, asking officials to determine whether a provider network that contracts with a self-insured employer is subject to regulation as an HMO by the state Insurance Department. In a six-page opinion, the attorney general's office said provider networks are exempt from state insurance regulation because such regulation is barred by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, the federal law governing self-insured employers.
MADISON, N.C.-Moses Cone Health System, based in Greensboro, N.C., is building a $1.3 million medical office building in Madison for a group of affiliated primary-care physicians. The four-physician practice, Western Rockingham Family Medicine, will lease the 13,400-square-foot building from Moses Cone, the parent corporation of 547-bed Moses H. Cone Memorial Hospital. Moses Cone, in turn, will lease the physicians' old office building in Madison from the practice and use it for other physician offices and support services. Moses Cone broke ground on the new office complex last month. It's expected to be completed next April.
BONITA SPRINGS, Fla.-Integrated Living Communities, an assisted-living provider, announced completion of its initial public offering of 4.2 million shares of common stock at an initial price of $8 a share. Some 2.8 million shares were sold by the company and 1.4 million were sold by Integrated Health Services, the company's sole stockholder prior to the offering. Owings Mills, Md.-based IHS continues to own 37% of the company's common stock. Integrated Living used proceeds from the IPO to finance the $12.2 million purchase of Terrace Gardens, a 342-bed assisted-living and senior housing facility in Wichita, Kan. Integrated Living Communities operates 20 assisted-living and other senior housing facilities in seven states.
GREENVILLE, S.C.-Sterling Diagnostic Imaging, a supplier of diagnostic imaging products and services, announced it's relocating its corporate headquarters from Glasgow, Del., to Greenville in mid-1997. The company said the move will place the company closer to its Brevard, N.C., film manufacturing plant, enabling it to produce imaging solutions more quickly. In addition, the company said Greenville offers an appealing quality of life for its employees, a strong infrastructure and a supportive business environment. About 150 employees will be affected by the move. In mid-1997, 100 workers will move to Greenville, and the remaining 50 will follow later in 1997 or early 1998. Sterling has more than 2,000 employees worldwide and expects annual sales of about $525 million this year.
BRENTWOOD, Tenn.-American HomePatient has acquired Penn Oxygen Services for an undisclosed amount. Pittsburgh-based Penn Oxygen provides home respiratory services, home medical equipment, and supplies and nutrition therapy through four home-care centers in Pennsylvania and one in West Virginia. Penn Oxygen expects to post $5 million in revenues this year. Brentwood-based American HomePatient operates 291 home-care centers in 32 states and had $162.4 million in revenues in 1995.