Humana, a Louisville, Ky.-based insurance giant, is going into the physician practice management business, according to a story in this week's Crain's Chicago Business, a sister publication of MODERN HEALTHCARE. Humana intends to launch a PPM division in January to acquire and manage practices in five markets: Chicago; Kansas City; Louisville, Ky.; Florida; and Texas. A Humana spokesman confirmed the move and said the company is confident the new venture will succeed.
The Federal Trade Commission late Friday filed an antitrust lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Washington to block Mediq's planned purchase of Universal Hospital Services. The FTC alleges Pennsauken, N.J.-based Mediq's $138 million acquisition of Bloomington, Minn.-based UHS "may substantially lessen competition and tend to create a monopoly" in the rental market for movable, durable medical equipment. Mediq and UHS plan to defend their transaction in court. "Unless there's something surprising in their case, I think we'll continue on," said Michael Sandler, senior vice president at Mediq. In late July, the FTC voted 5-0 to oppose the deal between the leasing companies, the two largest serving hospitals. Settlement talks between the agency and the companies failed, and the FTC went to court.
The board of Duke University Health System in Durham, N.C., late Friday approved a proposal for a partnership with Durham County Hospital Corp. The proposal calls for Duke, which operates 948-bed Duke University Medical Center, to lease the county's 264-bed Durham Regional Hospital. Terms weren't disclosed. The deal would place the only two nonfederal acute-care hospitals in Durham under common control. Under the proposal, Duke would control Durham Regional's finances but the county would continue to own the hospital's land and buildings and appoint its trustees. The county hospital corporation's board of trustees approved the proposal last week. It now heads to the Durham County Commission for review. Nancy Jensen, a Duke spokeswoman, said the hospitals are reviewing whether "any other governmental body or agency will need or want to review the transaction."