MANCHESTER, N.H.-Optima Healthcare has named Peter B. Davis interim president and chief executive officer to replace Robert G. Cholette, who submitted his resignation early this month. Davis was formerly president and CEO of St. Joseph Hospital, Nashua, N.H., which joined Optima in January, making it a three-hospital system. Cholette will stay on through year-end in a transition role. Optima's board of trustees will undertake a national search to find Cholette's permanent replacement.
NEW YORK-Columbia University's most highly trained nurses will open a new practice at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center's midtown facility on Sept. 29. The nurses say it's the first practice in the nation where advanced practice nurses who provide primary-care services will receive reimbursement on par with physicians from commercial insurers. Columbia Advanced Practice Nurse Associates will accept most major insurance plans, offer flexible office hours and provide in-home follow-up care. All of Columbia's advanced practice nurses have master's degrees in a primary-care specialty, are licensed by the state, have hospital admitting privileges and are nationally certified in their specialties.
KINGSTON, N.Y.-Bienestar, a 1996 spinoff of Wellcare Management Group, a Kingston-based HMO, has entered a joint venture that expands the membership organization's network of alternative-care providers to 2,000 from 500. Financial terms weren't disclosed. The joint venture is with Cold Spring, N.Y.-based Network for Holistic Health, which maintains a network and directory of alternative-care providers. Bienestar is an organization that entitles members to discounts on provider network services, from acupressure to massage therapy. Its 30,000 members, mostly Wellcare enrollees, also get access to Bienestar's health advice and health information hotlines.
WORCESTER, Mass.-About 2,000 workers in technical, caregiver and food-service positions at University of Massachusetts Medical Center became part of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees in a union vote. The employees, who constitute about a third of the work force, will be organized under a new AFSCME affiliate called the State Healthcare and Research Employees union, or SHARE. The 1,059-629 vote affects positions including nurse assistants, health technicians, respiratory therapists and cafeteria workers. Another AFSCME branch already represents building services and facilities employees, and nurses are in the Massachusetts Nurses Association. The medical center has a merger pending with Memorial Health Care, also in Worcester.
MANAHAWKIN, N.J.-Denver-based GeriMed of America opened its 24th senior services center at 134-bed Southern Ocean County Hospital in Manahawkin. MedWise Center uses an interdisciplinary team led by a geriatrician to provide comprehensive care to patients age 65 and older. The team includes a nurse, a geriatric social worker and medical assistants. MedWise offers services such as comprehensive physicals, health screenings, lab tests and diagnostic procedures. The center helps process insurance forms and provides referrals to other community services. GeriMed said it plans to open additional centers in San Mateo County, Calif.; Middletown, N.J.; and Dayton, Ohio, by year-end.
HARTFORD, Conn.-Gov. John G. Rowland proposed legislation to cover nearly 90,000 uninsured children in Connecticut. Under the plan, the state would beef up efforts to move 51,700 kids into Medicaid. In addition, 36,700 children from families not poor enough to qualify for Medicaid would be enrolled in a new program, called HUSKY (Healthcare for Uninsured Kids and Youth) Health Plan. The state's $19 million contribution to the program would be eligible for up to $36 million in annual federal Medicaid payments.