A small hospital serving western North Carolina filed for bankruptcy protection under Chapter 11 last week but plans to continue serving patients. District Memorial Hospital, a 25-bed critical-access hospital in Andrews, N.C., filed its petition to reorganize in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Asheville, N.C. The hospital cited uncollected payments of $2 million, according to local media reports. The closest hospital is about 20 miles away.
Four-hospital St. Francis Health System, Pittsburgh, said last week that it plans to close 136-bed St. Francis Central Hospital and consolidate its operations with 832-bed St. Francis Medical Center by Sept. 1. Both facilities are in Pittsburgh. The consolidated facility will be known as St. Francis Hospital Pittsburgh.
Oklahoma hospitals and physicians should receive a $130.8 million increase in their Medicaid payments in the fiscal year beginning July 1 under a new state law signed by Gov. Frank Keating. The Oklahoma 2001 Healthcare Initiative adds $260 million to the state's $1.7 billion annual Medicaid budget using tobacco-settlement money, a charge on nursing homes of $4 per patient day and federal matching funds. Physicians will see an 18% rate increase. Inpatient hospital payments will rise 12%, with special provisions for maternity, emergency room, neonatal and ambulance services. The Oklahoma Hospital Association said the state ranks 49th in Medicaid inpatient rates.
The city of Seminole, Okla., last week offered to buy the area's only hospital from HCA-The Healthcare Co. for undisclosed terms. HCA had planned to close 2-year-old Seminole Medical Center after unsuccessfully seeking a buyer for 12 months. The company has agreed to keep the hospital open while reviewing the city's offer. According to HCA, the hospital's average daily census of 10 isn't sustaining the facility. Under an agreement with the city, HCA opened the 32-bed hospital in May 1998 after the city shuttered its aging facility.
The Lindsay (Okla.) Municipal Hospital Board has voted to reopen the city-owned hospital under a critical-access designation, which would allow it to receive Medicare funding while operating on a smaller scale. The 25-bed hospital was losing money when it closed in May 1999 with an average inpatient census of two, City Manager Bill Cowan said. The hospital is expected to reopen in September with up to 15 beds. It will operate an emergency room. The city is negotiating with Frontier Healthcare of Oklahoma, Fort Worth, Texas, to manage the facility. Lindsay, with a population of 3,000, is about 30 miles from the nearest hospitals.
Lusk (Wyo.) Critical Access Hospital closed June 5 because of financial problems. The closest hospital for residents of Niobrara County is about 50 miles away in Torrington, Wyo. State and local officials are asking 36-bed Community Hospital in Torrington or 34-bed Memorial Hospital of Converse County in Douglas to station caregivers in Lusk.
Scripps Memorial Hospital East County in El Cajon, Calif., closed on June 5. Officials with San Diego-based ScrippsHealth said in March that it would shutter the 105-bed hospital, citing an excess of beds in the region and a 30% average occupancy rate for the facility. ScrippsHealth officials said they may sell the property but not to a buyer that would reopen the facility. The closing leaves ScrippsHealth with five acute-care hospitals in the San Diego area.
The board of 131-bed Tri-City Health Centre, Dallas, has voted to close the not-for-profit hospital, one week after executives were told the facility was overpaid by as much as $12 million in Medicare disproportionate-share funds from 1994 to 1999. Tri-City officials were told the hospital's disproportionate-share payments were excessive because its staffed beds fell below 100. Tri-City emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in June 1999 and has no money to repay Medicare, board Chairman Gavino Sotelo said. Sotelo said it's likely the board will vote to liquidate the facility. About half of the hospital's revenue comes from Medicare.