MILWAUKEE-Meeting the same fate as other metropolitan hospital associations, the Hospital Council of Greater Milwaukee Area will close shop in September. A new Milwaukee regional office of the Wisconsin Health and Hospital Association, to open in September, will take over the council's public policy and advocacy work. The future of the Milwaukee council had been under review for about a year, and its longtime president, Marvin F. Neely Jr., died in April. With 29 hospital and system members, its membership overlapped the larger state association's. The hospital council already has phased out its centralized credentialing program, but it still is deciding what to do about its group purchasing activities. Along with its new office, the state association plans a Milwaukee-area leadership council with members from the healthcare systems and local representatives of the state association board, said Bob Taylor, president of the WHHA.
KANSAS CITY, Mo.-Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City has acquired a large PPO in the Kansas City, Mo., region. Preferred Health Professionals, which serves western Missouri and eastern Kansas, will continue to exist as a Blues subsidiary. PHP has 90,000 enrollees, most of whom are in the PPO. The remainder use other services, such as workers' compensation, utilization management and case management. Enrollees should not notice any change in network or service pattern, the Blues said. The acquisition was completed July 1. Financial terms were not disclosed. PHP has 40 employees and is based in Overland Park, Kan. The Blues has 1,600 employees and is based in Kansas City, Mo. The largest insurer in the region, it serves 702,000 enrollees. A previous deal for the acquisition of PHP by the local Kaiser Permanente health plan fell through last December.
OELWEIN, Iowa-Minneapolis-based Health Fitness Corp. said its Health Fitness Rehab subsidiary has acquired Oelwein-based KAM Physical Therapy Services for $400,000 in cash and stock and additional payments based on a percentage of the company's future income. KAM provides physical therapy services under contracts with hospitals and long-term-care facilities in northeastern Iowa and southwestern Wisconsin. It also offers physical therapy and athletic training services to high school athletic programs and home-care agencies. Health Fitness said it expects to add $1 million in annual revenues through the acquisition, which will give it an avenue of expansion into Iowa's rural communities. Health Fitness also announced its acquisition of Des Moines, Iowa-based Duffy and Associates Physical Therapy, which provides outpatient physical therapy, sports medicine and occupational health services at two clinics. Terms of that acquisition were not disclosed. Health Fitness operates 26 physical therapy clinics and manages a national outpatient network of more than 1,200 clinics through its rehab division.
MADISON, Wis.-Physicians Plus Medical Group and Dean Medical Center are discussing a possible joint operation, officials from both doctor-owned clinics said recently. Tom Blinn, president and chief administrative officer of Physicians Plus, said earlier this month it also is discussing possible affiliations with Meriter Health Services, the owner of Meriter Hospital, and Nashville-based PhyCor, which operates or manages clinics in 27 states. Blinn said Physicians Plus is looking for an alignment that would provide cash or create operating efficiencies that would result in more affordable, accessible and accountable healthcare. A Dean spokesman confirmed the talks with Physicians Plus. "All I can tell you," said Paul Pitas, director of communications for Dean, is that "the two medical groups are talking about some sort of cooperative effort. What form or shape this could take is purely speculation." Meanwhile, Michael Wilson, the head of Dean, announced July 2 that he was leaving to take a job in California. Wilson, 49, has been Dean's president and chief administrative officer since 1990. He will become chief executive officer of Catholic Healthcare West Medical Foundation in San Francisco at the end of this summer, Dean officials said. Physicians Plus has 229 doctors and 1,100 employees at 26 clinics in the area and serves about 190,000 patients. Dean has 380 doctors at more than 40 clinics in southern Wisconsin with about 300,000 patients.
HANCOCK, Mich.-Portage Health System has broken ground for a new medical campus that will be at the heart of Hancock's expansion on Quincy Hill. Mayor Barbara Clark lauded the project's economic potential in a recent speech to hospital executives, board members, city officials, contractors and others at the 30-acre site overlooking Portage Waterway. "At $20 million, this is probably the largest privately funded project in the Copper Country in the last century," Clark said. She said the 140,000-square-foot facility has been a catalyst for many planned spinoffs, such as the new Hancock High School now under construction; road, water and sewer improvements; and a number of businesses and houses. The new facility will replace a Portage Hospital building that was constructed in 1951 and originally designed to house 300 patients. Primary-care clinics will be at the center of the new facility, with surgery, emergency, and diagnostic and other ancillary services clustered around.