MedPartners presumably had a lot to worry about in early June: protracted negotiations to reclaim assets in California, plus a $400 million shareholder lawsuit. But the company took time to pooh-pooh stock-message boards that lately have railed about its future.
MedPartners issued a news release June 1 in which it "expressed concern" about "material misstatements, misrepresentations and omissions in many of the anonymous and signed communications concerning the company."
In particular, the Birmingham, Ala.-based company was steamed at post No. 5681 on Yahoo's message board. The May 28 message purported to be from Chairman and Chief Executive Officer E. Mac Crawford. The message, signed by "Edwin Mae" (Edwin is Crawford's given first name), thanked investors for the "faith you have put in me" to shift MedPartners from the PPM business to pharmacy-benefit management. The message also offered options for responding to a $400 million lawsuit filed by holders of special securities, who say the company is legally bound to turn them into common shares or cash.
The odd thing is, none of the posters believed the message came from Crawford. Plus, many posters have raved about MedPartners' plans, as opposed to the bashing fellow PPM PhyCor normally takes on stock-message boards. Maybe that's why PhyCor has actually sued posters and MedPartners hasn't.
Animal magic. MedServe Link has dogged a new client for its Internet healthcare products.
The Minneapolis-based company is teaming up with Idexx Laboratories, the nation's largest supplier of practice information systems for veterinary hospitals. MedServe Link and Westbrook, Maine-based Idexx plan to develop a data exchange network for veterinarians that will debut in July.
While MedServe Link usually sells its intranet products to practices examining people, Chairman and CEO John Haugo says the company is seeking new markets --not abandoning healthcare. To Haugo, it's just good horse sense.
The real truth. What if physicians had an opportunity to sound off about health plans -- or at least rate them on such topics as treatment of physicians, satisfaction with financial reimbursement and limits on care?
Well, now they do. The Web site www.thehealthpages.com is posting what it calls an "insider's view into what doctors think of the plans in your area." The 1998 Medstat Quality Catalyst Study surveyed physicians in 22 markets across the country about local health plans. Consumers can click on their geographic area to see what local physicians really think about health plans.
One of the survey's big losers was Blue Bell, Pa.-based Aetna U.S. Healthcare's HMO, which received below average performance and "on the high end of below average performance" in every market in which it was rated. At the other end of the scale, Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans scored at or near the top in virtually every market.
Sea kelp, stat! A St. Louis-area physician has abandoned her medical career for a life of pampering.
Well, actually, she's the one who will be doing the pampering. Yelena Kogan, M.D., and her husband/silent partner Slava Platonov, M.D., opened a luxury spa outside St. Louis last month. The spa will offer clients such royal treatments as facial peels, seaweed oil baths and massages.
Kogan spent 12 years as an emergency-room pediatrician at Christian Hospital Northeast-Northwest in St. Louis before diving into the world of sea kelp and manicures. Her husband will remain a full-time anesthesiologist at HealthSouth Surgery Center in Washington, Mo., according to the St. Louis Business Journal.
With onetime treatments costing as much as $700 each, the spa business is likely to be more profitable than managed-care medicine.