The regents of both Stanford University and the University of California at San Francisco have scheduled a Sept. 19 vote to approve the proposed merger of their hospital systems under one operating company. The vote comes more than two years after the universities began merger discussions. They've had a final merger agreement in place since last November (Dec. 2, 1996, p. 36). The deal has had to overcome a number of obstacles, including opposition from unionized workers at the facilities and proposed legislation that would have opened up all the merged organization's business documents to public scrutiny. Once completed, the newly formed UCSF Stanford Health Care would oversee University of California San Francisco Medical Center, University of California-San Francisco Mount Zion Medical Center, Stanford (Calif.) University Hospital and Lucile Salter Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford in Palo Alto, Calif.
Quorum Health Group, Brentwood, Tenn., completed its acquisition of Hattiesburg, Miss.-based Wesley Health System. The system's flagship facility, not-for-profit, 211-bed Methodist Hospital in Hattiesburg, will be converted to for-profit and renamed Wesley Medical Center. The acquisition includes all the system's assets and businesses. Financial terms were not released. Quorum now owns or manages 13 hospitals in Mississippi.
Aetna U.S. Healthcare has completed the acquisition of Virginia Mason Health Plan, a Seattle-based HMO with 40,000 enrollees, from Virginia Mason Medical Center. Terms weren't disclosed. The acquisition, which was announced in late July, gives Aetna its first HMO in the Northwest, where it has 126,000 PPO and indemnity plan enrollees (July 28, p. 4). The companies also entered a long-term agreement that gives enrollees continued access to Virginia Mason's 336-bed hospital and 400-physician multispecialty group.
CRA Managed Care and OccuSystems have completed their merger and announced two acquisitions as a new company called Concentra Managed Care, headquartered in Boston. CRA Managed Care, which provides case-management and cost-containment services to employers and insurers, and OccuSystems, which manages physician practices at more than 100 occupational healthcare centers, announced their merger in April (April 28, p. 8). Concentra subsequently acquired Houston-based Premier Analytical Lab. Terms were not disclosed. With 5,000 collection sites serving 50 states, Premier tests for drug abuse, handling about 350,000 forensic drug screens annually. Concentra also agreed to purchase a network of 16 occupational medicine centers from Vencor, a Louisville, Ky.-based long-term-care company. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. The Federal Trade Commission cleared the acquisition last week, and it's expected to close shortly.
A labor union and law firm in Connecticut sued the state insurance department, challenging its approval of the merger of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Connecticut into Indianapolis-based Anthem, which operates a number of Blues plans in other states. The department approved the deal early last month, and it was consummated with the plan becoming Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Connecticut (Aug. 4, p. 4). The suit, filed in state Superior Court in Hartford last week, seeks a stay of the state insurance commissioner's decision and an order to retroactively bar the merger. It also asks the court to establish a trust to hold the Blues' charitable assets. Connecticut Employees Union Independent, which represents up to 6,000 state workers, and law firm Livingston, Adler, Pulda & Meiklejohn brought the suit.
A federal court in Tallahassee, Fla., has approved a motion to stay the Florida Board of Medicine's suspension of the medical license of James Desnick, M.D., a board spokeswoman said. Desnick is a Chicago-based hospital investor whose former eye-care business prompted an ongoing federal probe, reportedly involving Medicare and Medicaid billing issues (July 14, p. 5). Although Desnick says he no longer practices medicine, the Florida board voted June 6 to suspend his license and fine him $100,000. That suspension was sparked by a 1995 settlement in Illinois that resulted in a fine and Desnick's license being put on probation for five years. His attorneys are appealing the Florida suspension because Desnick was unable to attend the Florida hearing. "Obviously I'm pleased because it's the right thing to do," Desnick said of the federal court order.