ORLANDO, Fla.-Orlando Regional Healthcare unveiled plans last week for a $100 million, 273-bed Hospital for Women & Babies to be built across the street from the existing 281-bed Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children & Women. The 11-story facility will include 30 labor and delivery rooms and a 112-bed neonatal intensive-care unit-the fourth largest in the U.S., officials said. Once the new facility opens in late 2005 or early 2006, Arnold Palmer Hospital will become a 158-bed dedicated children's hospital. The hospital, which opened in 1989 to accommodate about 6,500 deliveries per year, currently delivers about 10,000 babies annually.
ATLANTA-Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, anticipating dramatic population growth in the metropolitan area, last month filed a certificate-of-need application for a $344 million expansion at its two campuses, Children's at Egleston and Children's at Scottish Rite. The construction project, set to begin this summer and be completed in 2007, will add about 70 beds to the two hospitals along with flexibility for future growth. Not-for-profit Children's Healthcare has 388 staffed beds at its two campuses and 430 licensed beds. The expansion will leave each facility with 250 licensed beds. About $51 million of the cost is being paid through community commitments, including a $25 million grant from the Robert W. Woodruff Foundation. The expansion will add a five-floor tower above a four-level underground parking structure at Egleston, and more than double the treatment space in the emergency room. At the Scottish Rite campus, a new two-floor tower will house a 28-bed inpatient rehabilitation unit. Other highlights include a 54-bed emergency department and expanded surgical services and diagnostic imaging.
HICKORY, N.C.-Piedmont Health Alliance said last month that it would fight price-fixing charges brought by the Federal Trade Commission against the physician-hospital organization. A hearing before an FTC administrative law judge is scheduled for March 22. The FTC last month accused the organization and 10 of its physicians of fixing prices for physician services. Piedmont Chairman Daniel Dillon said in a news release that the FTC's proposed settlement of the charges would be a "death sentence" for Piedmont. One of three hospitals in the alliance-Frye Regional Medical Center in Hickory, owned by Tenet Healthcare Corp.-agreed last month to settle price-fixing charges with the FTC but paid no fine and admitted no wrongdoing. The other two hospitals have not been charged in the case.
BIRMINGHAM, Ala.-Carraway Methodist Medical Center and its three main creditors last month signed a letter of intent to negotiate a five-year, $55 million letter of credit that would allow the hospital to add new services. Interim Chief Executive Officer Cathy Fickes said the hospital owes the creditors a total of $102.2 million. Carraway has been struggling with its debt since 2001, when it began considering strategic moves to remedy the situation. It completed a $29 million sale of two rural Alabama hospitals in 2002. Fickes also confirmed published reports that she planned to step down after two years as interim CEO. An employee of turnaround firm Cambio Health Solutions, Fickes said she was tired of commuting between Birmingham and her Southern California home. She said she hopes to continue working for Cambio closer to home. In December, Triad Hospitals spun off Cambio to the consulting unit's employees.
ASHEVILLE, N.C.-Mission Hospitals said last month that it agreed to pay about $129,000 to settle allegations that it used improper diagnosis codes on claims for radiological tests to maximize reimbursement. A spokeswoman for the 702-bed facility said hospital officials began working with the U.S. Justice Department after identifying the problem in 2000. "We thought we were billing correctly, but when told otherwise we immediately corrected the problem and offered to resolve it promptly," she said.