HealthMidwest to appeal
Health Midwest, Kansas City, Mo., last week said it's appealing a court ruling in its lawsuit against Kansas Attorney General Phill Kline over the system's $1.13 billion sale to HCA, Nashville. Johnson County District Judge Thomas Foster ruled that the boards of Health Midwest's four Kansas subsidiaries breached the public's trust by merging into the parent company headquartered in Missouri. Foster approved the sale and ruled that 20% of an estimated $700 million in sale assets should remain in Kansas. However he issued an injunction on the subsidiaries' merger. Health Midwest spokesman Chris Whitley said the system is appealing after hearing that Kline is considering filing post-trial motions that could delay his appeal request close to the March 31 deadline for the transaction. "By doing this, we can move up the process," he said.
Christus loses millions
Christus Health, Dallas, lost $44.7 million on operations in fiscal 2002, as labor costs exceeded budget by $38.4 million and malpractice and property insurance costs were $20 million above budget. Partly because of its reduced liquidity, the 23-hospital system saw its rating for $754 million in debt downgraded to A2 from A1 by Moody's Investors Service. The system expects a better performance in 2003, Moody's said. The ratings outlook was stable, although Moody's said liquidity would be further squeezed in the future because of pension plan contributions.
St. Anthony's to cut staff
St. Anthony's Medical Center, St. Louis, said last week it is cutting 24 management positions, including the 649-bed hospital's director of human resources, chief information officer and vice president of medical affairs, to save an estimated $1.7 million per year. Officials at the independent, not-for-profit hospital, which is operating at a profit for the first time in years, said eliminating the jobs-eight of which were vacant-was necessary from an operations standpoint to conserve costs.