In a written message for the Roman Catholic Church's World Day of the Sick, Pope John Paul II late last week said healthcare shouldn't be used to reap profit. The statement, the first public pronouncement by the pontiff on for-profit healthcare, supports predictions by Catholic healthcare observers that the Vatican will be taking a more active role in reviewing how the assets of Catholic hospitals are being used (See related story, p. 14). The pope was addressing advancements made by science, but he pointed out "numerous situations in which the centrality and dignity of the human person are ignored and trampled upon, as occurs when healthcare is regarded in terms of profit and not as a generous service."
Lawrence Kaplan, M.D., the driving force behind bringing Columbia/HCA Healthcare Corp. to Massachusetts, resigned his position late last week as chief executive officer of Columbia MetroWest Medical Center in Framingham, Mass. The two-hospital system in 1995 signed a joint venture agreement under which Columbia purchased an 80% interest and gained a 50% representation on the medical center's board. The sale proposal led to months of hearings and regulatory scrutiny in Massachusetts, which had no other for-profit hospitals at the time. Kaplan was unavailable for comment.
The board of directors of Community Care Services late last week said it has "terminated the services" of Alan T. Sheinwald as the Mount Vernon, N.Y.-based home-care company's president and chief executive officer and Allan C. Goldfeder as chief operating officer. Sheinwald remains a director of the company. The board said its decision follows last month's announcement that the company and its top executives were targets of a federal criminal investigation for allegedly making improper payments under a contract to provide Medicare services.
Peter Butler, senior vice president of hospital affairs at Henry Ford Health System in Detroit, reportedly is the leading candidate to succeed Larry Mathis as president and chief executive officer of Methodist Hospital in Houston. Methodist late last week said its board has a "short list," but it declined to disclose the names of candidates. The hospital said a job offer hadn't been made and Mathis' successor hadn't been selected.
MedPartners late last week promoted its western operations president, Mark Wagar, to second-in-command. Wagar, 46, became chief operating officer, a new position, and took the post of president, formerly held by MedPartners Chairman and CEO Larry House. Wagar will move from California to the company's headquarters in Birmingham, Ala. Before he was COO at Mullikin Medical Enterprises, which merged with MedPartners.
Baylor University in Waco, Texas, last week dropped its lawsuit against hospital consultant Josh Nemzoff and agreed to pay him an undisclosed amount of money. "The payment to Nemzoff is over and above the ($100,000) retainer," said Randall Fields, chairman of the Baylor University board of regents. The university sued Nemzoff last month in U.S. District Court in Waco over a $4.2 million fee he claims the school owes him. The university hired Nemzoff when it was looking at options for its Dallas-based Baylor Health Care System.
Alverno Health Corp., which is sponsored by Mishawaka, Ind.-based Sisters of St. Francis of Perpetual Adoration, acquired 120-bed Memorial Hospital of Michigan City (Ind.) late last week. Alverno contributed an undisclosed amount to a local not-for-profit foundation that will be based in Michigan City. The Sisters of St. Francis also operate Sisters of St. Francis Health Services, which owns 156-bed Saint Anthony Hospital and Health Centers in Michigan City and will operate separately from Alverno.
Trinity Health System, Steubenville, Ohio, said late last week that it has reached a preliminary agreement to form a clinical alliance with Pittsburgh-based Allegheny General Hospital, flagship of Allegheny Health, Education and Research Foundation. Under the nonexclusive clinical alliance, Trinity and its Premier Health Care PHO would refer tertiary care patients to Allegheny. A Trinity spokesman said a final contract is expected to be in effect by Sept. 1.
Three Roman Catholic hospitals in California signed a letter of intent late last week to form Coastal Catholic Healthcare. Forming the joint operating company are Daniel Freeman Memorial Hospital in Inglewood, Daniel Freeman Marina Hospital in Marina del Rey and Saint John's Hospital and Health Center in Santa Monica. The Daniel Freeman hospitals are part of St. Louis-based Carondelet Health System. Saint John's is part of Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth (Kan.) Health Services Corp.