More than 10% of Medicare beneficiaries were enrolled in the program's HMOs as of Oct. 1, the start of federal fiscal 1997, according to HCFA. Nearly 4 million of 37.4 million total beneficiaries had joined the plans, outpacing Congressional Budget Office projections that put HMO enrollment by the end of calendar 1996 at 3.6 million. California, with nearly 1.3 million beneficiaries enrolled, or 34.7%, led the way in both total number and percentage of beneficiaries in Medicare HMOs.
The 3,100-member American Academy of Healthcare Attorneys reportedly is considering pulling out of the American Hospital Association. Several sources, who requested anonymity, said the AAHA may break off and join the 8,000-member National Health Lawyers Association. Marilou King, the NHLA's executive vice president, wouldn't confirm or deny discussions between the two groups. Gary Eiland, an attorney with Vinson & Elkins in Houston and the AAHA's president, said last week there was "no deal" between his group and the NHLA. The AHA is in the midst of a major shakeup of its 15 personal membership groups, which generate about $18 million in annual revenues for the association (Oct. 28, p. 6). The AAHA contributes about $1.5 million of that, the sources said. The AAHA would be the second individual membership society to pull out of the AHA. The Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society became an independent organization in 1993.
Kaiser Permanente has established a beachhead in Chicago's northern suburbs in preparation for a major push into Illinois and the Midwest. The Oakland, Calif.-based managed-care company has opened a sales office in Rosemont, Ill., realizing longtime rumors that the company was looking to enter Chicago's hotly competitive market. Kaiser hasn't yet applied to state insurance regulators for a license and declines to set a schedule for its Illinois debut. In the Midwest, Kaiser now operates only in Ohio.
Coastal Physician Group lost its second key executive since its founder Steven M. Scott, M.D., regained control of the company last month. Stephen D. Corman, chief financial officer and director, resigned last week. Corman had been with the company since 1991. His departure was part of the settlement of a lawsuit filed against the company by Scott and another director, Bertram E. Walls, M.D., during Scott's proxy fight to install his nominees on the board. Joseph G. Piemont, chief executive officer of the Durham, N.C.-based physician management company, resigned Oct. 21. Coastal named Timothy W. Trost, a Coastal employee since March 1994, to replace Corman.