MERRITT ISLAND, Fla.-National HealthCare, a Murfreesboro, Tenn.-based long-term-care provider, said it has launched two construction projects totaling $8.6 million. The company said it plans to add 60 beds to one of its skilled-nursing centers on Merritt Island for $5.3 million and to add 60 beds to a skilled-nursing center in Dunlap, Tenn., for $3.3 million. Both centers also will receive new rehabilitation areas for speech, physical and occupational therapies. National HealthCare operates 107 skilled-nursing centers, 33 home-care programs, four retirement centers and 10 assisted-living sites.
COLUMBIA, Tenn.-Construction will begin shortly on an expansion of Maury Regional Hospital, including the addition of two floors to an adjacent office building. The expansion will add two operating rooms for a total of 14, and the training area will be remodeled, said hospital spokeswoman Cyndy Fox. "In the last five years, we have doubled the number of surgeons on our staff (to 47)," Fox said. "Our service area has expanded also, and our patient population has grown." Centex-Rodgers Construction Co. was awarded an $872,700 contract for work on the hospital and another for $3.3 million to add two floors to the office building.
WILKESBORO, N.C.-Some doctors at Wilkes Regional Medical Center say hospital management has used strong-arm tactics to force them to sell their practices. Hospital officials recently threatened to terminate an anesthesiologist's hospital privileges if she did not become a hospital employee, doctors and management sources said. They also said hospital management either doesn't seek or ignores their opinions about how Wilkes County's only medical center should be operated. David M. Seales, M.D., the hospital's chief of staff, recently read a 21/2-page statement to the hospital authority board. "The recent ultimatum presented to a staff physician has brought to an end any feeling of respect these physicians may have had for the present authority board," the statement said. "The growing feeling on the part of the medical staff that there is a total lack of respect for the opinions and input of the medical staff is now complete." The hospital has between 45 and 60 doctors on its staff. Most of them have private practices and contract with the hospital for admitting privileges and use of hospital services and facilities.
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.-Louisville, Ky.-based Vencor, a leading long-term-care provider, last month opened a renovated 60-bed hospital in St. Petersburg. Vencor Hospital-St. Petersburg will provide acute-care long-term-care services. Vencor purchased the facility last year from St. Petersburg Healthcare Management. It had been operating as a private, for-profit facility under the name Physicians Community Hospital before closing for more than a year following financial troubles.
LITTLE ROCK, Ark.-Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield has won a contract worth $2 million a year from the federal government to process Medicare claims in seven states. Robert Cabe, a vice president for the insurance company, said the additional claims will be handled mainly by existing computer systems in Little Rock and won't mean a significant staff increase. The company currently processes about 1 million claims each year from Arkansas and Louisiana. It also won a contract in November to administer Medicare Part B claims in New Mexico and Oklahoma, adding some $12 million a year to the company's revenues. In the latest development, the company plans to process some 16.5 million Medicare Part A claims each year from Alabama, Alaska, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, North Carolina and Washington.