DOCS EYE HOSPITAL PURCHASE. A group of physicians wants to buy Church Hospital in Baltimore, which is slated to close its doors by the end of the year.
The hospital, which is owned by MedStar Health, lost $3 million in fiscal year 1999 and is projected to lose $6 million in fiscal year 2000. The hospital sits on the site where Edgar Allan Poe died and has a value of $80 million, according to state tax records.
An unnamed group of 72 physicians making the bid says doctors wouldn't manage the hospital but would hire an outside firm. MedStar officials say no other buyer is interested in Church.
MGMA ROUNDUP. Medical Group Management Association is undertaking an initiative to increase patient safety in group practice and ambulatory care settings.
At the group's annual conference in San Diego, MGMA President and CEO William Jesse, M.D., said that while medical practices aren't unsafe, the move is an extension of the association's commitment to serve and improve the health of communities.
The initiative seeks to quantify risks to patients and control those risks by helping members understand and control, among other things, incidents and accidents in group practice and system failures that lead to patient injury. The initiative will be carried out in MGMA's education, research, communications and advocacy programs.
The association also announced a partnership with NewsRounds, an online medical news and communications service for physicians and practice administrators.
NewsRounds, created by ClinNet Solutions in New York, can be customized to provide news by medical specialty or other topics such as managed care and practice management. NewsRounds can also publish member bulletins to authorized recipients. Access to the service is free to MGMA members.
AMA TEAMS WITH INTEL. The American Medical Association announced last month at the second annual Internet Health Day in New York City that it is partnering with Intel Corp. to create a new form of electronic credentialing (see related story, page 14). Physicians can register for the credential free of charge and then use it to gain access to medical records and lab results or to order prescriptions, says Steven McGready, vice president and director of Intel's Internet health initiative.
Healtheon, an Internet-intranet and transaction processing services company, and a major Web-based transcription company are already using the credential, and McGready said he expects to market the credential to health sites like WebMD, which could use it for access to physician-only pages on its Web site.
HEALTH PLANS GO ONLINE. Bloomfield, Conn.-based Cigna HealthCare and Louisville, Ky.-based Humana both announced last month that they are going online. The health plans will establish interactive sites to provide information to members, doctors and other Web surfers.
Cigna HealthCare will team up with TheHealthNetwork.com, while Humana plans to work with HealthWeb to offer the services.
Through the respective sites, patients will be able to obtain health information on a variety of common illnesses, link to search engines and use interactive tools such as body mass index calculators and health risk assessors. Humana members also will be able to select a primary-care physician and review claims status. Physicians, meanwhile, will be able to verify patient eligibility and submit specialist referrals for health plan approval.
Blue Bell, Penn.-based Aetna US Healthcare launched its e.Health site last month. The site allows consumers to link to other healthcare pages and physicians to submit claims electronically.