Principal Hospital plans IPO, name change. Principal Hospital Co., Brentwood, Tenn., filed for an initial public offering last week with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The company is expected to change its name to Province Healthcare in the next 30 days. It owns or leases eight hospitals and manages 50 in nonurban markets in 22 states. The company expects to issue 5.7 million shares of common stock at a price of $13 to $15 per share sometime this fall. It has applied to trade the stock on the NASDAQ exchange under the symbol PRHC. Martin Rash will remain president and chief executive officer.
Wisconsin doc groups discuss merger. Two large physician group practices in Madison, Wis., are discussing a merger. University of Wisconsin Medical Foundation and Physicians Plus Medical Group announced last week they are beginning their due diligence review and expect to have a final merger agreement by year-end. The medical foundation has nearly 600 faculty physicians at the University of Wisconsin Medical School. Physicians Plus is a multispecialty group practice with 229 doctors and 27 clinics.
Alaska hospital sets talks with nurses. Providence Alaska Medical Center in Anchorage said last week it will not appeal a federal appellate court decision and will begin good-faith collective bargaining talks with the hospital's 700 registered nurses. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last month that charge nurses at the hospital aren't supervisors under federal labor law and, therefore, are eligible to join unions (Aug. 25, p. 4). The ruling was the first from a federal appeals court since the U.S. Supreme Court said in 1994 that nurses with supervisory functions may not be eligible for union representation. Providence Alaska's nurses voted to be represented by the Alaska Nurses Association in 1994, but the hospital has refused to recognize the union because it said charge nurses shouldn't have voted in the election.
Dorsey returning to Columbia post in Colorado. Jeffrey Dorsey is rejoining Columbia/HCA Healthcare Corp. as president and chief executive officer of the company's Colorado division, which oversees five hospitals. Dorsey, 48, left the same job in June to become president and CEO of a new $93 million aquarium being built in Denver. Dorsey couldn't be reached for comment last week, but a press release quoted him as saying "the vision, integrity and deep commitment of Columbia's new executive management team convinced me that I should play a major role in helping fulfill our joint venture's promise to the people of Colorado to provide the highest quality, compassionate patient care." The Colorado post has been vacant since Dorsey left.
Malpractice awards jump. The average medical malpractice award for damages nearly doubled to $398,426 in 1995 from an inflation-adjusted $211,711 in 1985, according to a liability insurance trade association. The Physician Insurers Association of America said the cost of defending a case rose to $19,346 in 1995 from an inflation-adjusted $9,300 in 1985. The association also said $737 million was spent in 1995 to defend against unmerited malpractice claims.
Renal Management, Humana sign deal. Renal Management Strategies has signed a three-year contract with Humana to manage the HMO's patients suffering from irreversible kidney failure. Under the deal, McGaw Park, Ill.-based RMS, an affiliate of Baxter International, will apply intensive disease-management techniques to care for an estimated 800 Humana enrollees with end-stage renal disease in 16 U.S. markets. RMS will roll out the program Oct. 1 in Chicago, Kansas City, San Antonio and South Florida. Louisville, Ky.-based Humana's other 12 markets will be added by the first quarter of 1998. Financial terms were not released.