Advocate subject of suit
* Advocate Health Care, Oak Brook, Ill., said last week that it is the subject of a class-action lawsuit filed on behalf of uninsured patients. The lawsuit, filed in Cook County (Ill.) Circuit Court, contends that Advocate's debt collection practices violate the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act and alleges that the system charges uninsured patients more than the insured. Advocate spokesman Ed Domansky said he had not seen the lawsuit, but that Advocate believes it has one of the most considerate charity-care policies in the country. Domansky said the 10-hospital system has budgeted $220 million for uncompensated care in 2003, $51 million of which is for charity care. The company earned an operating profit of $46.8 million on revenue of $2.6 billion in 2002.
Triad to lease Okla. hospital
* The board of 68-bed Woodward (Okla.) Regional Hospital said last week it has agreed to a 20-year lease of the hospital, which has been managed by Quorum Health Resources, to Quorum's parent, Triad Hospitals, Plano, Texas. Including purchases of accounts receivable, equipment, and inventory, the deal's value is $9.5 million. It marks Triad's third attempt to purchase a Quorum-managed hospital since Triad bought the company in April 2001. Triad owns or operates 49 hospitals, excluding pending deals.
Valley Plaza to close
* Valley Plaza Doctors Hospital, Perris, Calif., said last week that it would close Dec. 12 unless it finds a new management firm by the end of the month. According to the Press-Enterprise in Riverside, Calif., the 41-bed hospital told state and county officials that it parted ways with Coast Management, which helped the facility reopen in 1997. Since its founding in the 1970s, the hospital has closed several times, seen eight different owners and survived a scandal in which one of its nurses was convicted in 1981 of murdering 11 elderly patients by giving them lethal injections.