PHYSICIANS SEEK FRANCISCAN. A group of 74 physicians at Franciscan Medical Center in Dayton, Ohio, wants to buy the hospital after yet another potential buyer backed out.
A representative of the group, known as the St. Elizabeth Acquisition Group after the hospital's former name, told the Business News of Dayton that it's had a "very enthusiastic response" to a request for contributions from physicians. Howard Abroms, M.D., declined to release the total amount the group is seeking but said he expects many of the hospital's 400 staff physicians to participate.
Two groups previously expressed interest in buying Franciscan, but both backed out.
The hospital says the doctors' offer is one of several it's considering.
The purchase may give doctors more control in patient care, a common motivation among doctors who buy hospitals (see September, page 12).
FLORIDA HMOS DRAW FIRE. Florida warned health plans to watch how they pay providers as it continued its crackdown on HMOs, citing three plans for slow and low payments to emergency room doctors.
The Florida Agency for Health Care Administration fined Neighborhood Health Partnership $9,500. St. Augustine Health Care is appealing a $100,000 fine.
Originally it faced a fine of $135,000, but that was higher than the maximum allowed by state law. Foundation Health was fined $24,500 and has made changes to internal procedures, says David Olson, senior vice president of investor relations.
Five other Florida HMOs were fined a total of $194,000 this summer. In March, the AHCA and the Florida Department of Insurance announced a joint audit of the state's 16 Medicaid and 35 commercial HMOs (see September, page 18).
After receiving complaints about payment, Florida's Department of Insurance in September also warned HMOs to stop automatically downcoding medical claims, the Orlando Business Journal reported.
AMA SEEKS AETNA CONTRACT BAN. The American Medical Association wants the Justice Department to forbid Aetna U.S. Healthcare from requiring Texas doctors who treat one Aetna patient to see them all.
Aetna's "all products" stipulation requires doctors who accept one Aetna insurance product to accept them all, regardless of reimbursement rates. The requirement forces doctors to assume more risk and accept lower-paying products, the AMA says.
The AMA wants the Justice Department to ban Aetna's "all products" policy before approving Aetna's acquisition of Prudential HealthCare. Aetna is under orders from the Justice Department to divest its NYLCare operations in Houston and Dallas to avoid antitrust violations. Even without the NYLCare operations, Aetna controls a large portion of the Dallas and Houston markets. Aetna has refused to drop the clause and says it has met antitrust expectations.
PULMONOLOGY ACQUISITION. Atlanta-based Physicians' Specialty Corp. will acquire an Ohio pulmonology group, bringing the number of physicians in the company to more than 110.
The acquisition of Physicians for Pulmonary & Critical Care will add 10 physicians with practices in 12 clinics in the greater Cleveland area. PPCC was founded in 1982.
Last year Physicians' Specialty Corp. had net income of $5 million. In the first six months of this year, the company had revenues of $44.6 million, up 70% from the same time last year. The PPM had net income of $3.5 million for the six months ending June 30, up 66% from the same time period last year.
MEDPARTNERS NAME CHANGE. MedPartners is reinventing itself, both substantively and stylistically.
The former physician practice management company recently changed its name to Caremark Rx. The Birmingham, Ala.-based company announced last year that it was getting out of the physician management business to focus exclusively on its pharmacy benefits management division.
MedPartners, which at one time managed 10,000 physicians, has definitive agreements for the sale of all but 12 of its physician practices.
"We have essentially completed the divestiture of our physician practice management assets, and now is the time to change the company's name to reflect the future focus of the company," says Mac Crawford, chairman, president and CEO of Caremark Rx.