Sources told MODERN HEALTHCARE last week that HCFA Administrator Bruce Vladeck is leaving the agency in September to take what was called a "part-time job" at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York. Mel Granick, a spokesman for Mount Sinai, said, "There's nothing to be said on it today." Before taking over the top spot at HCFA in 1993, Vladeck was president of the United Hospital Fund in New York. Vladeck was unavailable for comment.
In a twist on the typical acquisition story, Charleston, W.Va.-based Camcare Friday agreed to buy 81-bed Plateau Medical Center in Oak Hill, W.Va., from Santa Barbara, Calif.-based Tenet Healthcare Corp. for $20 million. Camcare would convert it into a not-for-profit facility. Camcare is the parent company of 794-bed Charleston Area Medical Center. Camcare said Plateau will be operated by Heritage Health System, a joint venture between Camcare and Lexington, Ky.-based Appalachian Regional Healthcare. The acquisition is expected to be completed by the end of the year.
The Grossmont Healthcare District Board in La Mesa, Calif., voted 4-0 Friday, with one board member not voting, to reject an offer from San Diego-based Sharp HealthCare to continue to lease the district's facility, 377-bed Grossmont Hospital, for a financial package worth $32.5 million. The district simultaneously filed suit against Sharp in San Diego County Superior Court to break its current lease with Sharp. At deadline, Sharp executives were not available for comment. Sharp has been leasing the hospital from the district for $1 a year since May 1991. The original agreement also called on Sharp to assume the hospital's $45 million in debt. But last month, the district threatened to sue Sharp unless it renegotiated terms of the lease. The district accused Sharp of improperly obtaining extremely favorable lease terms from the district because two district employees who negotiated the deal later worked for Sharp, a situation the district maintains violates state law (June 30, p. 2). Sharp subsequently offered the district $10 million in cash upfront and $750,000 per year to extend the lease for another 30 years to 2027. For reasons unrelated to the financial terms, the district rejected Sharp's offer earlier this month and again last week.
Two healthcare systems in New England signed a definitive agreement late last week to affiliate into a regional network of nine hospitals and 15,000 employees. Boston-based CareGroup will become the parent company of Providence, R.I.-based Care New England. The affiliation calls for Care New England's management to be integrated into CareGroup. The agreement is subject to due diligence and regulatory reviews. The systems announced in April they were studying a closer relationship.
In a closely watched executive dispute in physician practice management circles, former Friendly Hills Healthcare Network executives Albert Barnett, M.D., and Gloria Mayer have reached settlement terms with MedPartners. The parties declined to discuss terms. However, a MedPartners physician would apparently retain control of Southern California Medical Corp., the professional medical corporation that holds Friendly Hills' facility licenses. MedPartners stunned the medical community when it fired the well-known executives in November 1996, two months after it acquired Friendly Hills' parent company, Caremark International. The company sued in Orange County (Calif.) Superior Court alleging that Barnett and Mayer signed lucrative employment contracts and then undermined efforts to integrate Friendly Hills with MedPartners' other operations. They filed countersuits.
A Massachusetts Superior Court judge last week lifted an injunction blocking Columbia/HCA Healthcare Corp.'s $1.1 billion purchase of Avon, Conn.-based Value Health, bringing the deal one step closer to completion. The ruling came after Value Health completed the sale of its 50% stake in a joint venture managing behavioral health services for the state of Massachusetts to partner FHC Options, Norfolk, Va. Financial terms were not disclosed. In June, FHC went to court to block the Columbia deal, saying the combined companies would have a conflict of interest as both healthcare provider and referrer of patients. Columbia and Value Health hope to close the deal by the end of this month.