San Francisco-based Brown & Toland Medical Group confirmed late last week that the Federal Trade Commission is conducting a "nonpublic inquiry" of its operations. "They asked for a lot of information, and we're in the process of providing it," said Vice President of Marketing Jaclyn Reinhardt. She said she could not comment on the nature of the investigation. Brown & Toland is an independent practice association that represents 1,250 physicians who practice at two San Francisco hospitals.
Premier is launching a group purchasing arm for physician group practices and other nonhospital providers. Provider Select is a separately incorporated affiliate of the San Diego-based hospital alliance. Iowa City, Iowa-based Hawk Medical Supply, owned by Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe, is handling distribution of medical supplies. The program is in place at several Midwestern physician practices, and a national rollout is expected within several months. Premier didn't release an estimate of the program's potential annual purchasing volume.
Soros Fund Management, the money management firm founded by healthcare philanthropist George Soros, lost $2 billion in last week's market free fall. A Soros spokesman said the losses will not alter Soros' planned charitable giving in Russia and other countries (See story, p. 20). The $2 billion loss on Soros' Quantum Group of funds represents an average 8.57% decline for the day. The seven hedge funds in the portfolio represent some $20 billion in assets.
The Kennedy Group has spun off a new organization called Infohealth Management Corp. The Chicago-based venture will focus on information technology management, including computer network management and staffing, for a variety of healthcare organizations. The Kennedy Group is a Redwood City, Calif.-based healthcare information consulting company.