DETROIT-The metropolitan area's third- and seventh-largest HMOs are discussing a possible merger, Crain's Detroit Business reported. The Wellness Plan in Detroit, with 158,735 mostly Medicaid enrollees, is talking with Troy, Mich.-based SelectCare, which has 91,534 HMO enrollees and approximately 300,000 enrollees in its other health plans. The health plans said they are not in exclusive negotiations. The state of Michigan is moving all its Medicaid enrollees into qualified HMOs. The Wellness Plan and SelectCare reported 1996 revenues of $278.4 million and $140.5 million, respectively. SelectCare is owned by four local not-for-profit hospital systems: Oakwood Healthcare System, Dearborn, Mich.; Providence Hospital and Medical Centers, Southfield, Mich.; St. John Health System, Detroit; and William Beaumont Hospital Corp., Royal Oak, Mich.
MADISON HEIGHTS, Mich.-St. John Health System Oakland Hospital is the new name of Oakland General Hospital, a 261-bed osteopathic facility in Madison Heights. The name change was approved by the board of trustees of Detroit-based St. John Health System, which acquired the hospital in August 1994. A recent survey showed many local residents were unaware of the hospital's 3-year-old affiliation with St. John but that the St. John name was highly regarded among those who were aware of it. St. John owns or is affiliated with nine hospitals in Southeast Michigan.
ST. LOUIS-An internal survey of physicians working at BJC Health System found massive dissatisfaction with Barnes-Jewish Hospital compared with other hospitals in the system, according to the St. Louis Business Journal. Barnes-Jewish, a teaching hospital affiliated with the Washington University School of Medicine, is the largest hospital in the BJC system and has had the most adjustments to make since its 1993 merger. Nearly half the doctors surveyed said the strategic direction of BJC is fair or poor. W. Claiborne Dunagan, M.D., BJC vice president for system quality, took the survey to find out where doctors have concerns. About 1,400 physicians participated. Dunagan noted that physicians everywhere are not exactly thrilled with the direction in which healthcare is moving. Academic physicians tend to be the most critical of the lot.
CHICAGO-Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke's Medical Center in Chicago and MacNeal Health Network in Berwyn, Ill., said they have formed a joint venture to operate a long-term acute-care hospital in Hinsdale, Ill. The board of directors of the Suburban Cook County Tuberculosis Sanitarium District voted to lease the district's 81-bed Suburban Hospital in Hinsdale to the venture in March. The lease became effective June 1. The Illinois Department of Public Health has granted a general acute-care hospital license to the venture, and HCFA has identified the Hinsdale facility as a long-term acute-care hospital. The hospital is now called RM Specialty Hospital.
CHICAGO-In an effort to bolster its health plans with life insurance products, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois will acquire Medical Life Insurance Co. of Cleveland. With combined net premiums of more than $350 million, Medical Life's operations will consolidate with Blues' life insurance subsidiary, Fort Dearborn Life of Chicago. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. "We are convinced that life insurance companies will need enormous scale to compete in the 21st century," said Raymond F. McCaskey, president and chief executive officer of the Illinois Blues. The acquisition allows Blues enrollees "the opportunity to add high-quality life insurance to their benefits package," McCaskey added. Medical Life, a subsidiary of Medical Mutual of Ohio, had net premiums of $142 million in 1996. Fort Dearborn's net premiums were $211 million for the same period. The deal, which is subject to regulatory approvals, is expected to close in December. Definitive agreements were signed by boards of both insurers last month.