ROCKLEDGE, Fla.-State officials gave Wuestoff Memorial Hospital the go-ahead to build a 50-bed hospital at its medical complex in Melbourne. In exchange, Wuestoff agreed to cut 100 beds at its main Rockledge facility, reducing its total bed count to 140. The combined moves will reduce the number of beds in Brevard County by about 5%. The new Wuestoff hospital at Melbourne will provide stiffer competition to Health First, a three-hospital system also based in Melbourne, which is about 20 miles south of Rockledge. Meanwhile, Wuestoff is one of two finalists bidding for a partnership with Parrish Medical Center in Titusville, Fla. The other is Health First. But Parrish has not ruled out three other suitors should the top two fail to meet expectations, a Parrish spokeswoman said.
CHARLESTON, W.Va.-West Virginia legislators have called for an interim legislative committee study of the state's managed-care system following complaints of red tape and a lack of referrals and service. Senate Health and Human Resources Chairwoman Martha Walker and Sen. Larry Wiedebusch will lead the committee, which is expected to meet for the first time this month. Walker said the committee wants to hear complaints from patients and to learn about managed-care legislation in other states and how managed-care works with Medicaid. She said the committee may recommend bills to the Legislature next year to protect patients' rights and make sure HMOs in the state are solvent.
JACKSON, Ga.-Tenet Healthcare Corp. assumed the remaining four years of a five-year lease for county-owned Sylvan Grove Hospital in Jackson. Tenet will be able to pair Sylvan Grove with Spalding Regional Hospital, a Tenet-owned, 160-bed acute-care community facility in Griffin, Ga., 20 miles west of Jackson. Sylvan Grove is a 28-bed acute-care hospital with annual revenues of $3.8 million. A local governing board will be appointed to oversee quality-care issues, regulatory compliance, physician credentialing and budget reviews. Tenet will take on the lease from Sylvan Grove Hospital Corp., a wholly owned subsidiary of Healthcare Management Group.
BRENTWOOD, Tenn.-Brentwood-based American HomePatient has signed a multiyear contract with Nashville-based Columbia/HCA Healthcare Corp.'s South Texas division. Under the agreement, American HomePatient will be a preferred provider of home medical equipment and respiratory and infusion therapy services for the division's nine hospitals. They are Columbia Alice (Texas) Physicians and Surgeons Hospital; Columbia Bay Area Medical Center, Columbia Doctors Regional Medical Center, Columbia Northwest Hospital and Columbia Rehabilitation Hospital, all in Corpus Christi; Columbia Doctors Hospital of Laredo (Texas); Columbia North Bay Hospital in Aransas Pass, Texas; Columbia Rio Grande Regional Hospital in McAllen, Texas; and Columbia Valley Regional Medical Center in Brownsville, Texas. American HomePatient said it currently has 27 major joint venture and contractual alliance agreements serving 95 hospitals. The company operates 315 home-care centers in 33 states.