Some providers are so eager to get into the managed-care business that they'll buy a plan with no enrollees.
Pitt County Memorial Hospital in Greenville, N.C., said it has agreed to buy the for-profit HMO license of Carolina Summit Healthcare.
Allen Feezor, Pitt County Memorial's vice president for managed care, said the hospital is awaiting approval from the state's insurance commissioner and plans to release the terms of the transaction at a public hearing next month. He said he anticipates a final decision by late February.
Lakeland, Fla.-based Carolina Summit currently has no enrollees. Feezor said the hospital plans to use the HMO's administrative infrastructure to develop managed-care products for the eastern third of the state.
He said the hospital is discussing possible equity partnerships with Cape Fear Valley Medical Center in Fayetteville, N.C.; New Hanover Regional Medical Center in Wilmington, N.C.; the 20-hospital East Carolina Health Network; and physician groups in the area.
Feezor said Pitt County had hoped to form a joint venture with an HMO rather than purchasing one outright. But he said he could not find an HMO that would agree to reinvest its profits from the venture into the primarily rural area served by the public hospital.