Alta Bates Medical Group, which in 1993 became one of the first large physician organizations to move to capitation, said last week it will shift its 250 primary-care physicians back to fee-for-service. Lori Hack, executive director of the Berkeley, Calif.-based medical group, said the move back to fee-for-service is meant to reward productivity. Under capitation, she said, some primary-care physicians have referred procedures they could do in their offices to specialists. The group's 500 specialists will continue to be capitated.
Surgeons would see the biggest losses and procedure-oriented specialists the biggest gains under a move to a single Medicare physician payment base, according to an analysis released late last week by a congressional advisory panel. According to the Physician Payment Review Commission's analysis of President Clinton's proposal to set a minimum payment base, or "conversion factor," of $37.13 in 1998, the plan would increase pathologists' Medicare income by 9.6% and radiologists' by 9.4%. Thoracic surgeons would see the biggest loss, 6.6%, and orthopedic surgeons the second-largest loss, 4.6%.
HHS late last week said it has established an interagency panel that will focus on the federal government's role in academic health centers. HHS Secretary Donna Shalala said the group will review and potentially revise federal policies that affect academic health centers and other health work-force issues. The panel will be headed by Ciro Sumaya, acting HHS deputy assistant secretary for health.
Whitehall Street Real Estate, an affiliate of Goldman, Sachs & Co., said late last week it has agreed to buy Integrated Living Communities, a Bonita Springs, Fla.-based assisted-living company, in an $87.4 million cash tender offer. Whitehall said it will pay $11.50 per share for the company's 7.6 million outstanding and optioned shares. Whitehall is a real estate investment fund. In a partnership with Chicago-based Senior Lifestyle Corp., Whitehall operates senior housing, retirement and assisted-living facilities. Integrated operates 24 facilities and has 15 others under construction.