Value Health-Columbia deal nears completion. Value Health shareholders approved the company's $1.1 billion sale to Columbia/HCA Healthcare Corp. last week at a special meeting held in Avon, Conn. The sale is expected to close later this month. Under the previously announced terms, Value Health stockholders will receive $20.50 in cash for each of their shares (June 16, p. 12).
AHA lays off attorneys. As part of its ongoing restructuring, the American Hospital Association is laying off three attorneys in its Chicago office. The staff cuts were anticipated following the AHA's announcement in April that it was moving its day-to-day legal activities as they relate to legislation and regulation to its Washington office (April 21, p. 3). The three attorneys, whom the AHA declined to identify, will be let go at the end of July along with two support staff employees, said Richard Wade, the AHA's senior vice president for communications. The move will leave the AHA with four lawyers in Chicago and two in Washington.
Toledo hospital joins system. Riverside Hospital in Toledo, Ohio, signed a letter of intent last week to join Mercy Health Partners, a system of four hospitals in northwest Ohio. Riverside is unwinding its 31/2-year affiliation with Cleveland-based Medical Mutual of Ohio (formerly Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Ohio), which was to form an integrated insurance and provider system. Mercy and 271-bed Riverside had combined 1996 revenues of $588 million. A hospital spokeswoman said filings with federal antitrust enforcement agencies and the state attorney general were made last week.
Okla. joint venture called off. The only two hospitals in Lawton, Okla., last week threw in the towel on a proposed joint venture they had been working on for a year. The hospitals are 283-bed Comanche County Memorial Hospital, a public facility, and 213-bed Columbia Southwestern Medical Center, a for-profit facility operated by Columbia/HCA Healthcare Corp. The two sides had been talking about combining their hospitals or some of their services. Instead, both will expand separately. "As we thought more about it and the philosophies and the direction we wanted to go," said Tom Rine, chief executive officer of Columbia Southwestern, "it became clear to both of us that there were other options we should be pursuing." Comanche is thinking about a new surgery center in Lawton, while Columbia Southwestern is considering new services in surgery, obstetrics, rehabilitation, emergency care and outpatient services. This is the second set of hospitals in a two-hospital town to recently decide to remain competitors rather than monopolize acute-care services in their markets (See related story, p. 32).
N.J. Blues to buy health plan. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of New Jersey's HMO subsidiary signed a letter of intent last week to buy the HMO and PPO operations of troubled Physician Healthcare Plan of New Jersey. Financial terms weren't disclosed. According to PHPNJ's annual report to the Securities and Exchange Commission, the physician-owned managed-care plan, with just a little more than 4,000 enrollees, posted a net loss of $7.8 million on revenues of $2.9 million in the year ended Dec. 31. The state's HMOs must meet a $1.5 million net-worth requirement. The companies said they will submit a definitive agreement to PHPNJ's board later this month. Following shareholder and regulatory approvals, Lawrenceville, N.J.-based PHPNJ will become part of the Blue's 260,000-enrollee plan, called HMO Blue.
Transitional clears way for Vencor deal. Las Vegas-based Transitional Hospitals Corp. last week formally terminated its merger agreement with Mechanicsburg, Pa.-based Select Medical Corp. That clears the way for Transitional to complete its proposed sale to Louisville, Ky.-based Vencor in a deal valued at nearly $640 million (June 16, p. 12). Transitional's merger agreement with Select allowed it to pursue talks with other parties. The combined Transitional-Vencor company will have 58 hospitals, 314 skilled-nursing centers, more than 4,000 institutional contracts for ancillary services and pro forma 1997 revenues of $3.3 billion.