MORGANTOWN, W.Va.-West Virginia University Hospitals has appointed a new president for its Ruby Memorial Hospital in preparation for joining a new regional system. Last month, the boards of directors of both Ruby Memorial and United Hospital Center in Clarksburg approved an affiliation agreement to form a mergerlike partnership, called West Virginia United Health System. As a result, Bruce McClymonds will become president of Ruby Memorial on Jan. 1, and the hospital's current president, Bernard Westfall, will become chief executive officer of the proposed system. Under the system, the two hospitals would maintain separate ownership and assets but would be overseen by a joint operating board. While decisions regarding medical staffs, for example, would be handled by each hospital separately, those involving contracts with managed-care organizations and purchasers would go through the common board. In October, the state Legislature gave the green light to the hospitals' plan. The hospitals expect to receive final state and federal regulatory approval in March or April. While they are leaving the door open to letting more providers into the system, recruiting efforts are on the back burner until the system gets off the ground.
TALLAHASSEE, Fla.-University of Florida Health System, Shands Hospital at the University of Florida in Gainesville, and Healthplan Southeast, based in Tallahassee, have formed a partnership to offer an HMO to Medicaid beneficiaries. The organizations have submitted a proposal to the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration that would allow them to serve about 100,000 Medicaid recipients in an 18-county area in north central Florida. The parties wouldn't disclose financial terms of their proposal. "It is through this new alliance that we can harness the expertise and resources of federal, county, academic and community health centers in an effort to maximize the benefits provided in this region to those patients eligible for care through the state Medicaid plan," said Warren Ross, M.D., chief executive officer of UFHS. The state agency is scheduled to award the Medicaid contracts on Jan. 14.
ROME, Ga.-The parent boards of four Georgia hospitals voted recently to form Pinnacle Health Plans, a provider-sponsored healthcare corporation, or PSHC. The corporation consists of 304-bed Floyd Medical Center in Rome, 282-bed Hamilton Medical Center in Dalton, 50-bed Gordon Hospital in Calhoun and 297-bed Hutcheson Medical Center in Fort Oglethorpe. Last spring, Georgia Insurance Commissioner John Oxendine approved regulations that would allow the formation of PSHCs. Providers are now permitted to form not-for-profit corporations that offer prepaid comprehensive health plans similar to HMOs. Pinnacle expects to spend about $2.2 million for start-up and first-year operations. PSHC regulations require capitalization of at least $1 million. Pinnacle will be governed by a 17-member board comprising representatives from each hospital's community. The proposal will be sent to the insurance commissioner for review, and a decision is expected by early spring.