Merger talks between Dallas County's public 836-bed Parkland Memorial Hospital and three private Dallas institutions have collapsed. Parkland's board, which gave tentative approval to a merger last July, nixed the deal because of difficulties transferring public funds from county-owned Parkland to a new organization, said MacGregor Day, Parkland's chief operating officer. Parkland's merger partners were to be 214-bed Children's Medical Center of Dallas, 131-bed Zale Lipshy University Hospital and the physician group practice at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. A Zale Lipshy spokeswoman said the hospitals will continue to work together but are "taking a breather."
Boston-based Partners HealthCare System and South Weymouth, Mass.-based South Shore Hospital late last week approved a memorandum of understanding to seek an affiliation that would put 247-bed South Shore on an equal footing with other Partners corporate members. The system now includes Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston and North Shore Medical Center in north suburban Salem. Citing the potential economic impact on the community, a state senator immediately called for legislative hearings into the deal, saying "the veil of secrecy over this process has prevented necessary public input." Sen. Henri Rauschenbach contended, "Partners is acting quite similar to a for-profit corporation by scooping up a community hospital without informing the public of its intentions."
MedPartners late last week acquired Fischer Mangold, a privately held contract manager with roughly $45 million in annual revenues. Pleasanton, Calif.-based Fischer Mangold provides management services and physician staffing to 28 hospitals. It also has two primary-care clinics and operates a medical billing company. Through the pooling of interests, Fischer Mangold was merged into MedPartners' subsidiary Team Health. MedPartners, based in Birmingham, Ala., also completed its acquisition of InPhyNet.
Medicare oftentimes doesn't know what products it's buying from large suppliers and overpays for them, according to a study released late last week by the General Accounting Office. According to the GAO, Medicare doesn't receive volume discounts from large suppliers; instead it pays the same amount as an individual purchasing in small quantities. The GAO recommended revamping the billing system for supplies to establish universal billing codes.
Shands HealthCare, Gainesville, Fla., late last week disclosed it has begun talks that could lead to the purchase of 500-bed University Medical Center in Jacksonville, Fla. The negotiations come just months after Shands started talks to buy 269-bed Methodist Medical Center in Jacksonville, across the street from University. Shands HealthCare already has eight hospitals, including the main Shands facility at the University of Florida-Gainesville.