DURHAM, N.C.-The on-again-off-again consolidation talks between the city's only nonfederal hospitals are on again. The hospitals are 948-bed Duke University Medical Center and 264-bed Durham Regional Hospital. The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs also operates a 388-bed hospital in Durham. Nancy Jensen, a Duke spokeswoman, said negotiations recently resumed after breaking off in the spring. She said talks are in the initial stages with various collaboration models being discussed. A statement from Durham Regional executives said the hospitals were exploring "partnership alternatives." Jensen said there's no timetable for making a decision, but the two hospitals hope to reach a tentative agreement within the next several months. Negotiations between Duke University and Durham Regional have occurred sporadically since 1993.
DURHAM, N.C-Two North Carolina hospital systems have acquired MedCost managed-care company from Coastal Physician Group. The plan will be purchased by a joint venture of North Carolina Baptist Hospital in Winston-Salem and Carolinas HealthCare System in Charlotte. The same systems also are in partnership negotiations with two other North Carolina hospital systems (See next item). The acquisition from Coastal was expected to close late last month. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed, but Coastal said it netted about $14 million in cash. The sale is part of a strategy of the physician practice management company, based in Durham, to divest noncore assets and reduce debt. MedCost, based in Winston-Salem, owns and operates a PPO network and utilization management programs and provides services to more than 5,000 employer groups representing nearly 900,000 enrollees.
CHAPEL HILL, N.C.-A fourth major North Carolina hospital has joined ongoing partnership talks that could link several of the state's largest not-for-profit hospitals through a new alliance. The new player is 659-bed University of North Carolina Hospitals in Chapel Hill. It joins the five-hospital, 1,454-bed Carolinas HealthCare System in Charlotte; 756-bed North Carolina Baptist Hospital in Winston-Salem; and 669-bed Pitt County Memorial Hospital in Greenville. The trio announced the discussions in May. The hospital systems haven't publicly expressed their preference for a consolidation model, but their stated goal is to coordinate programs and services, share administrative and support services, and jointly pursue service contracts with payers. A spokesman for Carolinas HealthCare System said there's no timetable for the four systems to reach an agreement.
FLORENCE, Ky.-St. Luke Hospital West has opened a new 70,000-square-foot emergency and outpatient-care building. The hospital is part of the two-campus St. Luke Hospitals, which operates another acute-care facility in Fort Thomas, Ky. The new $17.4 million building, which features 24 emergency treatment rooms, doubles the size of the hospital's previous emergency department.