The Healthcare Financial Management Association is considering development of a certificate program in regulatory compliance, association officials told MODERN HEALTHCARE exclusively. The program would be a first for the HFMA's national office in Westchester, Ill. "We believe there's a need out there and we're investigating it," HFMA President Richard Clarke said. The association also is developing a special educational and networking forum for healthcare compliance officers, patterned after existing forums for chief financial officers and managed-care executives. "I expect it to take off like wild fire," said Ronald Anspaugh, the HFMA's chairman.
Howard Dean, M.D., the nation's only physician governor, will run for president in 2000, according to published reports. Dean, Vermont's Democrat governor, reportedly met with Vice President Al Gore, the Democratic presidential front-runner, at the White House and notified Gore of his intentions. A spokeswoman for Dean would not comment. Dean said last month that he was considering a presidential bid but would not make a decision until next year.
In a preliminary report released late last week, 76% of surveyed Californians said they are satisfied with their health plan, although 42% said they had had a problem with their plan in the past 12 months. More respondents reported dissatisfaction with the U.S. healthcare system overall at 19% than with their particular plans (7%). The survey of 1,373 insured adults was conducted for a task force set to make recommendations about managed-care reform to California Gov. Pete Wilson in January.
Henry Manning, who served for 23 years as president and chief executive officer of MetroHealth Medical Center in Cleveland, died last week at University Hospitals of Cleveland from complications of lung cancer. He was 62. Manning, known for innovation and controversy, resigned in March 1993 as a result of his efforts to create a private system to link MetroHealth with other providers. A study determined he usurped control of the Cuyahoga County-owned hospital from a publicly appointed board. Manning also had generated criticism for drawing a $70,000 pension.
Columbia/HCA Healthcare Corp. has put two Chicago hospitals on the block: Columbia Grant Hospital and Columbia Michael Reese Hospital and Medical Center, according to Crain's Chicago Business, a sister publication of MODERN HEALTHCARE's. The two institutions, the worst performers of the for-profit hospital chain's eight Chicago holdings, will be sold as a package. Columbia has no plans to sell any other area assets, a Columbia spokeswoman said. Meanwhile, Michael Reese's medical staff voted unanimously Dec. 4 to support a physician-led buyout of Columbia's area hospitals. A task force of physicians from all the chain's local institutions plans to prepare a bid before year-end, a spokesman for the doctors said. As many as six other buyers also are reportedly interested in Columbia's Chicago holdings.
Sarasota-based Florida Software Systems filed suit against Columbia/ HCA Healthcare Corp. late last week for allegedly breaching its contract for claims processing services. The complaint was filed in U.S. District Court in Tampa. Florida Software is suing for $2 billion in damages, saying that is what it would have received had its contract been honored, Bloomberg News reported. Columbia last week said it was reviewing the complaint and that it was concerned about Florida Software's performance. The company, which provides software for transmitting bills electronically to third-party payers, said the contract was supposed to cover all Columbia facilities at a reduced rate. But what actually happened was that Columbia limited the contract to its Florida facilities, according to Florida Software.
National Research Corp., a Lincoln, Neb.-based performance measurement and analysis company, was hammered on Wall Street last week when its main client, Kaiser Permanente's Northern California Region, switched to another vendor. Kaiser's business had represented nearly a third of NRC's revenues in the first nine months of 1997. A Kaiser spokeswoman said another vendor came in with a better price. An industry source identified that vendor as Arlington Heights, Ill.-based Market Facts. NRC went public in October at $15 per share and had shot up to $23.50 per share. By Dec. 1 its shares had slipped to $18.50 and on Dec. 2 plunged $11.75, or 64%, to $6.75 per share. The closing price on Dec. 5 was $6.56.