MISSION VIEJO, Calif. -- Kaiser Permanente's Orange County HMO will begin contracting for inpatient services with 208-bed Mission Hospital Regional Medical Center in Mission Viejo on Jan. 1. The agreement will allow the 40,000 Kaiser members living in Southern Orange County to seek emergency, obstetrical, pediatric and other medical services at the hospital. Annual usage projections were not immediately available. Officials also declined to disclose a potential dollar value of the contract, which requires approval by the California Department of Corporations. Kaiser, which has about 4 million enrollees in California and traditionally treats patients at its own hospitals, had announced last year that it would cut costs by sending some patients to facilities outside of its network. It had announced in late 1996 a major agreement to have Saint Vincent Medical Center in Los Angeles treat some of its inpatients but has since delayed implementation by several years (Dec. 1, p. 36).
DENVER -- After 15 years at the helm, the head of 199-bed Children's Hospital is retiring in July. Lua Blankenship, president and chief executive officer, told the hospital's board he wants to exercise the early retirement option in his contract. Blakenship, 54, plans to move to Atlanta with his wife. The hospital board plans to launch an internal and national search to find Blankenship's replacement.