Tenet Healthcare Corp., a Santa Barbara, Calif.-based for-profit hospital chain, and not-for-profit Catholic Healthcare West, based in San Francisco, are planning a joint venture involving seven of their hospitals in Central California. Sources said the joint venture would include five CHW-run hospitals and two Tenet-run facilities in central California. Tenet operates two facilities in the region: Doctors Medical Center in Modesto, about 60 miles south of Sacramento; and Doctors Medical Center in Manteca, 10 miles north of Modesto. CHW operates two hospitals in Bakersfield and five in the Sacramento area. The Sacramento properties are within a 75-mile radius of the Tenet hospitals. A Tenet spokesman declined comment and said CHW executives would not be commenting either. CHW executives didn't return repeated phone calls. Details of the venture are expected to be announced within several weeks.
Connecticut and Indiana insurance regulators late last week cleared Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Connecticut's proposed merger with Indianapolis-based Anthem. The North Haven-based plan now is operating as Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Connecticut. Connecticut's insurance commissioner required the Blues to maintain its current level of annual charitable contributions, valued at $150,000 a year. The deal's opponents have indicated they might sue.
Limitations on the amount of tax-exempt bonds a hospital can hold will be eliminated for future debt issues under the tax reform plan passed late last week by the House and Senate, which also passed much-anticipated balanced-budget legislation (See story, p. 6). Under a law passed in 1986, organizations can hold only $150 million in tax-exempt bonds. Hospitals argue that the limit has become a barrier to forming integrated health networks. The tax reform bill passed last week would eliminate the ceiling for future debt issues. Advocates of the change say they hope to expand the exemption to include some current debt situations. President Clinton praised the tax package, which passed the House 389-43 and the Senate 85-15. He is expected to sign the bill into law this week.