Health Midwest under fire
Missouri Attorney General Jay Nixon asked a state court to dissolve Health Midwest, Kansas City, Mo., and fire its 21-member board of directors. Nixon and Kansas Attorney General Carla Stovall have been reviewing Health Midwest's agreement to sell its assets to for-profit HCA, Nashville, for $1.1 billion. "Health Midwest existed for the purpose of running hospitals in the Kansas City area," Nixon said in his motion. "The board of directors has made a decision to abandon the very thing for which the corporation exists, so Health Midwest must be dissolved and its directors replaced." Nixon accused Health Midwest directors of "gross abuse of authority or discretion with respect to the corporation." A spokeswoman said attorneys for the system are reviewing the lawsuit.
Humana to cut workforce in '03
Humana, Louisville, Ky., said it will cut 2,300 jobs, or 17% of its workforce, in the next year as it consolidates operations and relies more on technology. The 6.6 million-member insurer will close three of its seven customer service centers by June 30, replacing them with Internet or voice-activated telephone services. Humana said it will take pretax charges of $100 million to $145 million as a result of the cutbacks. It expects to record $75 million to $110 million of those charges in the current fourth quarter, including all severance-related costs.
Tenet to follow guidelines
Tenet Healthcare Corp., Santa Barbara, Calif., announced a push to implement treatment guidelines for the care of heart-attack patients throughout its system. The guidelines, advocated by a steering committee of the American Heart Association, already are being followed at 58 Tenet hospitals. A study of 1,247 hospitals presented last month by Duke University Medical Center cardiologists documented a 12% reduction in a patient's chances of dying for each 10% improvement in a hospital's composite performance in adhering to a dozen timely interventions during a heart-attack episode (See cover story, p. 6). The treatment guidelines prescribe steps that can reduce the number of recurrent attacks.
Menninger heads to Houston
The financially troubled Menninger Clinic, Topeka, Kan., is heading to Houston after all. More than a year after it abruptly pulled out of a partnership with the Baylor College of Medicine and Methodist Health Care System, Houston, the psychiatric clinic announced it has struck a new deal. The relocation is expected to be completed by June. Financial terms of the partnership were not disclosed. Clinic officials said they reconsidered the deal after they were given more autonomy over operations in Houston and greater control of executive decisions at the board level. Menninger announced its partnership with Baylor and Methodist in September 2000, but 10 months later, the deal fell apart.