PHENIX CITY, Ala.-Ameris Health Systems, Nashville, has won approval from the state of Alabama to build a 70-bed hospital in Phenix City. The new hospital, expected to cost $25 million to $30 million, will replace Phenix Regional Hospital, a money-losing 114-bed facility that was shut down last March by parent Columbus (Ga.) Regional Healthcare System. Ameris, a small for-profit company that owns 29-bed Smith Northview Hospital, Valdosta, Ga., and manages four others, was sought out for the project by the Russell County Commission after voters rejected a tax increase that would have paid for a public facility. Its certificate-of-need request was unanimously approved last week by the Alabama Health Planning and Development Agency. Joe Herring, president of Ameris, told state officials that he expects to break ground within six months on a 25-acre site in Phenix City.
PETERSBURG, Va.-Community Health Systems, Brentwood, Tenn., signed a definitive agreement to acquire city-owned, 408-bed Southside Regional Medical Center, Petersburg, Va., several satellite clinics and two paramedical education programs for undisclosed terms. The transaction is subject to regulatory approvals. As part of the agreement, Community promised to build a replacement hospital for Southside Regional's 50-year-old facility. "We look forward to building on that strong foundation of service by developing a top-notch replacement facility," Community President and Chief Executive Officer Wayne Smith said in a written statement. Southside Regional would be Community's fourth Virginia hospital. Community owns or operates 70 hospitals in 22 states.
LULING, La.-A payroll clerk at 56-bed St. Charles Parish Hospital, Luling, La., was charged with theft and forgery after a hospital audit showed she allegedly stole $700,000 from the payroll system from 1995 to 2002. The public hospital alleged that the 10-year employee, Cynthia Rogers, 44, of Destrehan, La., diverted funds to personal credit card and credit union savings accounts, according to the St. Charles Parish Sheriff's Office. The hospital filed a complaint with the sheriff's office Dec. 6, 2002. Hospital Chief Executive Officer Fred Martinez said Rogers, who was in charge of hospital payroll, used elaborate methods to divert the money and hide her activities. She was well-liked and named 1994 employee of the year, Martinez said.
LEXINGTON, Ky.-Nine-hospital Appalachian Regional Healthcare said it laid off 181 employees, roughly 3.6% of its workforce, because of a$6 million drop in Medicare reimbursement. The system operates in eastern Kentucky and West Virginia. In addition to hospitals, it includes 17 clinics and eight home health agencies.
MIAMI-Select Medical Corp., Mechanicsburg, Pa., has opened a 45-bed long-term acute-care hospital in Miami, its first facility in Florida and its 72nd in the U.S. The hospital is located in a "medical condominium" building occupied by other tenants, a Select Medical official said. The company in November opened another long-term acute-care hospital within Porter Adventist Hospital, Denver.
FRANKFORT, Ky.-A western Kentucky doctor will get a hearing Jan. 24, after more than a two-year delay, on his request for a state certificate of need to build a $481,000 outpatient surgery center with two operating rooms in Owensboro. The only hospital in the area, 345-bed Owensboro Mercy Health System, requested the hearing to learn "the details" of the physician's plan. Thomas Logan, an otolaryngologist with Midwest Ear, Nose and Throat, filed his CON application in September 2000 but voluntarily deferred when Gov. Paul Patton placed a moratorium on new health facilities in Kentucky. Logan contends that Owensboro Mercy is not meeting the demand for operating rooms in the area. In July 1999, Owensboro Mercy purchased a controlling interest in the only ambulatory surgical facility in the county.
FRANKFORT, Ky.-Clark Regional Medical Center, a 112-bed hospital in Winchester, received state certificate-of-need approval to build a $30.7 million replacement hospital about two miles from its existing campus. The facility, built in 1967, has several shortcomings, including limited parking and few private rooms, and constructing a new hospital will be more efficient than remodeling, officials said. However, they said they would not make a final decision on construction until financing is arranged early this year. Under the current scenario, construction on the new hospital would start this spring and be completed by fall 2004.