West Penn posts positive margin
* For the first time in its four-year history, West Penn Allegheny Health System, Pittsburgh, reported a positive quarterly margin. The six-hospital system, created when Western Pennsylvania Healthcare System bought four hospitals affiliated with the bankrupt Allegheny Health, Education and Research Foundation, showed a surplus in its fiscal second quarter ended Dec. 31, 2003, of
$2.3 million on revenue of $323 million. West Penn attributed the improvement to labor cost savings, an increase in volumes and improved returns on investments.
HPA withdraws hospital bid
* Charlotte, N.C.-based Hospital Partners of America announced last week that it would withdraw its $3 million bid to purchase bankrupt Deaconess Hospital in Cleveland. Formerly known as OrthoNeuro Corp., HPA owns and operates two hospitals with physician investors. Terry Linn, HPA's chief development officer, said last week that the company examined the managed-care market and determined that "we could not be successful here." Linn said HPA had planned to reopen the shuttered hospital by partnering with local physicians. In a statement, Deaconess attorney Daniel DeMarco said the hospital held up its end of the agreement, which had been approved by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Cleveland, and is "pursuing its legal remedies." The hospital filed for Chapter 11 protection in November 2003 and closed days later.
Conn. hospital to offer discounts
* Yale-New Haven (Conn.) Hospital said last week it would discount charges on a sliding scale for uninsured-and on a case-by-case basis for underinsured-patients with family incomes of up to 350% of the federal poverty level. The hospital chose to implement the sliding scale after the CMS' recent assurance that discounted bills for the uninsured are legal, a hospital spokesman said. Under the hospital's previous policy, patients at or below 250% of the poverty level could qualify for free care but first had to apply for Medicaid.