PAINESVILLE, Ohio-The Ohio Department of Health approved a certificate of need for Painesville-based Lake Hospital System to run an open-heart surgery program, reversing an earlier denial. The approval came after Meridia Health System dropped its opposition. Meridia merged this year with Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Lake Hospital System's partner in the open-heart program. Lake Hospital System expects to start open-heart surgery and angioplasty services this summer at its LakeWest Hospital in Willoughby, Ohio, as a shared program with Cleveland Clinic Foundation, whose cardiac protocols will be followed. It will be the only open-heart surgery program in Lake County, which is east of Cleveland. The health department, under a previous director, denied the request in 1993, stating six other open-heart programs in northern Ohio were underutilized. Lake Hospital System appealed in court but lost. According to the system, more than 400 patients annually leave the county for open-heart surgery.
MILWAUKEE-Louisville, Ky.-based Vencor has signed a letter of intent to buy a defunct psychiatric hospital and turn it into a long-term, acute-care facility. The deal to purchase De Paul Hospital from Lutheran Social Services is expected to be completed in about 30 days, said Susan Moss, a Vencor spokeswoman. The proposed sale price for the hospital isn't being disclosed. Vencor already owns two hospitals in Milwaukee, including one it picked up in its recent acquisition of Las Vegas-based Transitional Hospitals Corp. De Paul was officially closed May 31. Specializing in the treatment of chemical dependency, De Paul had been licensed for 126 beds but was staffing only about 30 before it closed. Vencor has 58 hospitals, 314 skilled-nursing centers and more than 4,000 institutional contracts for ancillary services.
OLATHE, Kan.-The Phoenix Nursing and Rehabilitation Center has closed after state regulators found irredeemable deficiencies, which cost the home its Medicare and Medicaid provider contracts. The 235-bed nursing home had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in May after it was given a 180-day timeline to clean up 18 deficiencies. Most of those had been taken care of by the time inspectors revisited the home, but regulators found new problems, mostly administrative.
INDIANAPOLIS-St. Vincent Hospitals and Health Services and the American Cancer Society opened late last month in Indianapolis the nation's 13th free residence for cancer patients. Cancer patients from throughout the state may stay at the 32-room lodge at no charge for as long as needed while undergoing outpatient treatment at any Indianapolis-area cancer treatment facility. The residence is a donation in-kind valued at $5.2 million from the St. Vincent system. The American Cancer Society's Indiana division manages the lodge and all of its operating expenses. The society said it plans to open five additional lodges around the country by the end of 1998.
TOLEDO, Ohio-Moody's Investors Service placed Riverside Hospital's series 1986 bonds on its watch list with an "uncertain" outlook. The action, affecting $22.4 million of debt, follows the Toledo-based hospital's proposed merger last month with Mercy Health Partners, a northwest Ohio system (June 23, p. 12). The merger hinges on Riverside's success in unwinding a 1994 affiliation with Cleveland-based Medical Mutual of Ohio. Moody's says the merger with Mercy Health Partners is likely to have a positive impact on Riverside's credit position, but any delay or barrier to the merger would not bode well for Riverside because of its "vulnerable status as a stand-alone hospital within a consolidating market."