WASHINGTON-Nurses and other workers at 317-bed Howard University Hospital in Washington won raises for this year and the next two years, a reduction in forced overtime and a greater say in staffing standards after a one-day strike Oct. 22. Citing concerns about patient safety, 400 nurses and other workers at Howard represented by the D.C. Nurses Association went on strike, forcing hospital executives to shut down much of the emergency room and postpone surgeries.
TAYLORSVILLE, N.C.-The former operator of two nursing homes has been sentenced to 111/2 years in prison and ordered to pay back taxes for filing bogus Medicaid claims. Glennis Bolden, who was convicted on nearly 50 charges with her husband last year, submitted nearly $790,000 in false claims through Emerald Health nursing homes in Taylorsville and West Jefferson, N.C., prosecutors said. Her husband, Clifford Bolden, the former maintenance and housekeeping director at the Taylorsville facility, was sentenced to 57 months in prison, according to the U.S. attorney's office for western North Carolina. The two also were ordered by U.S. District Judge Lacy Thornburg to pay back taxes of $146,719. Mrs. Bolden was convicted of 34 counts of Medicaid fraud, tax fraud and money laundering-related charges. Her husband was convicted of 15 counts of those crimes.
FAYETTEVILLE, N.C.-Mid-South Insurance Co., a subsidiary of Richmond, Va.-based Trigon Healthcare, is leaving the health insurance market effective April 2000. Mid-South, based in Fayetteville, provides health coverage to 100,000 small-group and individual members in rural areas of Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina. Trigon, which owns Virginia's largest health insurer, Trigon Blue Cross and Blue Shield, said it will take a third-quarter charge of at least $49 million, or $1.17 per share, because of the action. Thomas Snead Jr., Trigon Healthcare's president and chief executive officer, said Mid-South's financial performance was "unacceptable" and that it would take Trigon too long to turn the company around. The Mid-South exit affects 100 employees in North Carolina and another 200 in Virginia.
CHARLESTON, S.C.-A lawsuit brought by private physicians over a bond issue to benefit the Medical University of South Carolina has cost MUSC doctors about $3.9 million, according to a court settlement. The Charleston County Council in 1996 approved issuing $85 million in tax-exempt bonds on behalf of MUSC to renovate former St. Francis hospital in downtown Charleston. But the Coalition of Private Practice Physicians said the tax-exempt bonds would illegally benefit University Medical Associates, the private group that owns physicians' practices at the medical university. With a legal challenge pending, the tax-exempt bonds were never issued. Taxable bonds were later issued at a higher interest rate to pay for the renovation. The settlement states that the county council did nothing wrong by approving the $85 million bond issue, county lawyer Sam Howell said. The settlement also clears the way for tax-exempt bonds to be issued, he said.
CUMBERLAND, Md.-A $125,000 grant from a state-sponsored foundation will fund a pilot program aimed at improving the health of the uninsured in far western Maryland, officials said. The grant from the Maryland Health Care Foundation will enable about 1,000 people to get physical examinations and laboratory tests to detect existing or potential health problems, said spokeswoman Kathy Rogers of Western Maryland Health System. Patients will be assigned a primary-care physician to advise them on preventing health problems and direct them to available care, Rogers said.
GREENVILLE, S.C.-Greenville Memorial Hospital will spend almost $68 million to offer more private rooms, expand heart services and boost children's care. Greenville Hospital System's trustees adopted the three-year plan late last month and now must seek permission from the state to proceed. Construction is expected to start late next year.