WAUSAU, Wis.-Wausau Hospital, which soon could find itself competing against the formidable Marshfield (Wis.) Clinic, is planning a new $3.2 million cancer center. Construction on the 14,000-square-foot facility is expected to begin in the fall, and it should be occupied in 1998. The 257-bed hospital in central Wisconsin is northeast of Marshfield Clinic. The clinic, which operates its own regional cancer center, recently announced an agreement to acquire a 70-physician clinic in Wausau (March 10, p. 28). The Federal Trade Commission is reviewing the deal.
WEST BEND, Wis.-St. Joseph's Community Hospital has opened a $1.4 million subacute-care unit on its third floor in partnership with a county-owned nursing home, Samaritan Health Center. The unit is one of a dozen opened recently or in the planning stages in southeastern Wisconsin, according to the Milwaukee Business Journal. The 23-bed unit will compete against a subacute-care unit run by Cedar Lakes Campus, a long-term-care provider in the area
ST. LOUIS-Washington University has started a new master's program in business administration for working healthcare professionals. It's offered to physicians, clinicians and other healthcare managers with at least seven years' professional experience. Classes begin this August and meet every second weekend for 21 months. The program, a joint effort of the Olin School of Business and the school of medicine, will be limited to 60 participants. It will include management courses in finance, marketing, accounting, organizational behavior, services operations and information management, in the context of healthcare issues such as managed care, clinical protocols, disease management and strategic alliances.
FARGO, N.D.-A new psychiatric hospital for children has added inpatient services. Children's Psychiatric Hospital, founded by several Fargo psychiatrists, opened last November. It has offered partial hospitalization services for psychiatric and substance-abuse problems. The new inpatient service replaced a Dakota Heartland Health System program on April 1. "We are proud to return ownership control of our services to the local community," said hospital President Emmet Kenney.
MILWAUKEE-Ministry Health Care officially became the name of Sisters of Sorrowful Mother Ministry Corp. last month. The Milwaukee-based company operates eight hospitals in Wisconsin and eastern Minnesota. Sister Lois Bush, its chief executive officer, said the name better reflects the diversity of employees at the corporation but still emphasizes its religious ties and mission.
LINCOLN, Neb.-Lancaster County commissioners settled a tax-penalty disagreement with Bryan Memorial Hospital by assessing the hospital a $1,200 penalty. Bryan incurred tax penalties after failing to file a dozen tax-exempt forms on time in 1996. Hospital officials claimed the forms were lost by a mailing service. County Board Chairwoman Linda Steinman said the commissioners decided to settle with the hospital because they heard a legislative bill that would limit the amount a county can collect for missing tax-exempt filing deadlines likely will pass. The Legislature's Revenue Committee has made the bill a priority. Steinman said the limit would be set at $100 for each month missed. She said none of the 12 filings Bryan missed was late by more than a month. She said the state Tax Equalization Review Committee was scheduled to take up the Bryan tax penalty issue shortly. Bryan fought a 10% tax penalty proposed by County Assessor Norm Agena. It also disputed the assessed value of some of the hospital's land and buildings. At one point, Agena estimated Bryan's assessed valuation at $111 million. Hospital officials said it was closer to $54 million.
ST. PAUL, Minn.-The Minnesota Health Care Commission, which has advised legislators and administrators on healthcare policy, is recommending its own demise. A lack of consensus on healthcare cost containment and universal insurance coverage make it difficult for the group to continue, according to a letter to Gov. Arne Carlson and several legislators involved in healthcare. "Without this consensus, the commission found it difficult to do its work and make a contribution," Chairman John Gunyou said. Commission members recommend the group dissolve by July 1. The 5-year-old group, which includes representatives of consumers, employers, health plans, unions and state agencies, had been a forum for key players in the state's healthcare system. One of the commission's major achievements has been the MinnesotaCare program, a state-subsidized program providing healthcare coverage to nearly 100,000 low-income workers and their children. The program has exceeded expectations and is expected to accumulate a surplus of more than $300 million by summer 1999. A bill in the Legislature would abolish the commission this year.