A search committee charged with finding the successor to John Curley as president and chief executive officer of the Catholic Health Association has made its choice and will recommend that person to CHA's board Dec. 4. Charles Thoele, search committee chairman, wouldn't disclose the person's name. The names of two possible candidates have surfaced: William Cox, CHA's executive vice president, and the Rev. Michael Place, a healthcare adviser to the late Cardinal Joseph Bernardin of Chicago.
In the first tangible sign of Columbia/HCA Healthcare Corp.'s downsizing strategy, the Nashville-based company on Friday agreed to sell an Arkansas hospital and three related clinics to a former competitor in Little Rock. St. Vincent Health System will acquire Columbia Doctors Hospital and three Columbia Family Clinics. Terms of the sale, which is expected to close early next year, weren't disclosed. Columbia Doctors, with 284 beds, stands across the street from St. Vincent's flagship hospital, 691-bed St. Vincent Infirmary Medical Center, in Little Rock. Columbia Doctors Hospital earned $5.1 million on revenues of $66.5 million last year, according to HCIA, a Baltimore-based healthcare information company.
Wholesale prices for acute-care hospital services dropped 0.3% last month, according to the U.S. Labor Department's Producer Price Index released Friday. For the 12-month period ended in October, wholesale hospital prices were up just 0.3%. The PPI measures changes in net revenues per episode of care. Driving last month's decline was a 1% drop in net revenues from treating Medicare patients. The balanced-budget law froze hospital Medicare payment rates for one year effective Oct. 1. That, and changes in how Medicare pays hospitals for their capital costs and for treating disproportionate shares of Medicare beneficiaries, are expected to slightly reduce total Medicare payments to hospitals in fiscal 1998, according to government estimates.
Federal Trade Commission staff and the Mesa County Physicians Independent Practice Association in Grand Junction, Colo., have signed off on a proposed antitrust settlement. An official of the IPA confirmed that the proposed settlement is expected to keep the 190-member IPA intact. A trial scheduled for January has been canceled. The four FTC commissioners -- one commission seat is vacant -- still must approve the settlement. A date for a vote hasn't been set. The FTC sued the IPA in May, accusing it of price fixing, refusing to deal with payers and controlling too much of the market.
Atlanta-based Physician Health Corp. late last week filed for an initial public offering expected to raise $69 million. The company manages networks with approximately 3,000 physicians and group practices with 62 physicians, mainly in the South and Midwest. Physician Health lost $13.8 million on net revenues of $5.7 million for the six months ended June 30. The company plans to complete acquisitions of 15 more practices with 104 physicians. If pending acquisitions had been completed, Physician Health would have recorded net income of $454,000 on revenues of $47.5 million for the first half of 1997, according to a registration statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
About $6.8 million paid to former Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Ohio executives and trustees will be returned to the insurer in a proposed settlement made public late last week. Lawyers representing policyholders tried to recoup an estimated $30 million spent by the Cleveland-based insurer in its failed effort to be acquired by Columbia/HCA Healthcare Corp. The Ohio Department of Insurance blocked the deal in March, and the company lost its Blues affiliation and took the name Medical Mutual of Ohio. The largest repayments will be made by John Burry Jr., former CEO and chairman, and Jerome Rogers, former general counsel, who will return about $3.1 million and $1 million, respectively.
The two largest operators of outpatient diagnostic imaging centers released earnings for the third quarter ended Sept. 30. West Palm Beach, Fla.-based U.S. Diagnostic reported a loss of $9.8 million on revenues of $57 million for the quarter ended Sept. 30. Meanwhile, Hackensack, N.J.-based Medical Resources reported a doubling of net income to $4.2 million for the third quarter ended Sept. 30 on revenues of $58.9 million. However, the good financial report was overshadowed by news that last week the company had accepted the resignation of three senior executives.