Seven pension funds have joined New York State Comptroller H. Carl McCall's lawsuit against Columbia/HCA Healthcare Corp. and its former top executives. Joining the suit are the New York City Retirement Systems' five funds, the Los Angeles City Employees' Retirement System and the National Industry Pension Fund. The funds reportedly own 4.6 million Columbia shares. To date, 12 funds with 15.3 million Columbia shares have sued the Nashville-based healthcare company. McCall filed the lawsuit in August on behalf of New York state's public pension plan (Aug. 18, p. 3). The suit alleges Columbia and its executives engaged in actions that put the company stock at risk. It also alleges several board members and senior executives were involved in insider stock sales at artificially inflated stock prices. The pension funds seek to recover lost profits and revenues, legal fees and other damages.
Baptist Memorial Health Care Corp. and St. Joseph Hospital and Health Centers, both of Memphis, Tenn., have merged after two months of talks (Oct. 20, p. 6). Also, nearby St. Jude Children's Research Hospital will acquire St. Joseph's building and land. Baptist will lease the 402-bed facility from St. Jude for up to three years until renovations at 1,112-bed Baptist Memorial Hospital are complete. Baptist plans to file for certificate-of-need approval from the state of Tennessee for a new medical center campus, the cost of which hasn't been disclosed.
Milwaukee-based ThinkMed has signed a multiyear agreement to provide software support to Oxford Health Plans less than a month after the Norwalk, Conn.-based HMO blamed a third-quarter loss of $78.2 million at least partly on computer problems (Nov. 10, p. 60). ThinkMed said it will provide software to prospectively identify patients at risk for clinical deterioration, increased utilization and high-cost services. The ThinkMed software profiles a patient population using a defined set of more than 550 physician-developed rules, compiled from more than 20,000 unique, coordinated database queries of claims, pharmaceutical, patient demographic and other data. Oxford said the new software should help it more effectively target its medical management initiatives.
Meditrust Cos. last month completed its acquisition of Santa Anita Cos. -- owner and operator of the Arcadia, Calif.-based Santa Anita Park horserace track -- in a $458 million stock transaction. The deal makes Needham Heights, Mass.-based Meditrust one of four "paired-share" real estate investment trusts in the U.S. The paired-share structure enables the company to own real estate and operate businesses (April 28, p. 36). On Nov. 6, shares of Meditrust Corp., the company's real estate arm, and Meditrust Operating Co., its operating division, began trading together under the symbol MT on the New York Stock Exchange. Meditrust reportedly submitted a $1.3 billion bid for Pittsburgh's Interstate Hotels Corp. last month but later dropped out of the bidding. The REIT has investments in 491 healthcare facilities in 41 states and total assets exceeding $3 billion.
A Michigan nursing home group has petitioned a federal appeals court for a rehearing on a 2-year-old lawsuit against HHS and HCFA over nursing home quality-enforcement rules. The Michigan Association of Homes and Services for the Aging sued the federal government in 1995, saying survey and enforcement regulations published in 1994 under the authority of a 1987 law deny nursing homes due process rights (Nov. 13, 1995, p. 8). In October, a federal appeals court affirmed a district court's decision to dismiss the case, saying the lawsuit did not fall under the jurisdiction of the Medicaid and Medicare laws. The Michigan nursing home group asked for a rehearing because the federal government has conceded in a separate appeals court that such lawsuits could fall under the jurisdication of Medicaid laws, said attorney Richard Landau of the law firm Dykema Gossett in Ann Arbor, Mich. The group based its legal claim on a jump in the number of nursing homes that regulators found to be providing substandard care after the new survey and enforcement standards took effect.
Alegent Health, a not-for-profit health system in Omaha, Neb., completed its acquisition of Quorum Health Resources' remaining interest in Midlands Community Hospital in Papillion, Neb. Brentwood, Tenn.-based Quorum had an 86% stake in Midlands, while six-hospital Alegent owned 14%, which it acquired from Quorum in 1995. Alegent announced plans to buy out Quorum's stake in late April (May 5, p. 26). In total, Alegent paid $15 million for Midlands.