LOS ANGELES-Women in California are more likely to lack health insurance than in other states, according to a study released last month by the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research and the Henry J. Kaiser Foundation. The study said 22% of the state's nonelderly women lack health coverage, some 2.1 million people in all. Most women lacking insurance have incomes hovering around the federal poverty level, the study said. Forty-three percent of women below poverty level are uninsured, compared with 35% nationwide. Those women who are at or a few increments above poverty also lag behind the rest of the nation when it comes to having insurance. African-American, Asian and Latin women are more likely to lack insurance than white women. The study concluded that many of the working poor do not receive benefits from their jobs and cannot purchase insurance on their own. Only 5% of the state's nonelderly women purchase their own medical plan.
PHOENIX-Phoenix-based Samaritan Health System and Teterboro, N.J.-based Quest Diagnostics have entered a joint venture to pursue business in diagnostic testing and related services throughout Arizona. The venture is called Sonora Quest Laboratories. The business will combine the commercial laboratory component of Samaritan's business with Quest's Arizona operations. Officials said both Samaritan and Quest can remain competitive in the state by being able to expand services while cutting costs.
BELMONT, Calif.-Benefits Alliance, a new purchasing coalition serving medium-sized employers in California, has begun operations. Benefits Alliance currently has two members: Ipsilon Networks, a Sunnyvale-based high-tech firm, and Alburger, Basso deGrosz, a Belmont-based insurance brokerage firm. Benefits Alliance is contracting with Blue Shield of California, Cigna HealthCare, PacifiCare Health Systems and United HealthCare Corp. for coverage. It is targeting companies with 51 to several thousand employees as potential members. A statement from Benefits Alliance noted that coalitions already represent large and small employers, but medium-sized companies had gone without representation.
PATTERSON, Calif.-The start of negotiations between Santa Barbara, Calif.-based Tenet Healthcare Corp. and tiny Del Puerto Hospital in Patterson, 75 miles east of San Francisco, caused Del Puerto's management contract with an affiliate of Sacramento, Calif.-based Sutter Health to be abruptly terminated late last month. Michael Petrie, chief executive officer of the Del Puerto Hospital District, which owns the 40-bed hospital, said the management contract with Sutter-owned Memorial Medical Center in Modesto, Calif., was terminated with 120 days' notice on July 15, just after the district entered a 45-day negotiating period with Tenet. Petrie said the break was not amicable and blamed it on the beginning of negotiations with Tenet, adding that Del Puerto needs to align itself with a larger operator. He noted that management of the hospital is soon likely to switch to Tenet-owned Doctors Medical Center in Modesto.