Sutter Health said it plans to spend $1.2 billion over the next decade to implement clinical information systems and related technology at its 26 hospitals and associated physician practices. The investment plan calls for supporting standardization of care practices, improving workplace efficiency, enhancing patient safety and securely sharing patient data across affiliated facilities. The investments include: over $100 million for an electronic medical record for viewing test results and placing orders; $50 million for a computerized ordering and clinical information system at affiliated physician centers; and $10 million for systemwide installation of a computerized diagnostic-image transfer and storage network.
Wholesale acute-care prices up
Wholesale acute-care hospital prices grew 0.1% in March following a 0.2% increase in February and a 1.7% increase in January, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Producer Price Index. Physician prices fell 0.2% after rising 0.4% in February and 0.7% in January. Prices for all finished goods advanced 0.5%. Hospital prices rose 5.3% for the 12-month period ended in March, while physician prices rose 2.3%.
WellChoice won't buy Oxford
WellChoice, New York, said it called off talks to acquire Oxford Health Plans, Trumbull Conn., a deal that would have created a new health insurance powerhouse in the Northeast. The news comes after weeks of speculation that WellChoice, the parent of Empire Blue Cross and Blue Shield, planned to pay as much as a 25% premium for Oxford in order to keep it out of the hands of much larger rivals like UnitedHealth Group. WellChoice officials declined to discuss why the talks collapsed, but said the company remained interested in future acquisitions. WellChoice released the news after reporting a 24% jump in first-quarter net income to $59.2 million, or 71 cents per share, from $47.7 million, or 57 cents per share, in the year-ago quarter. Revenue rose 7% to $1.38 billion, and enrollment inched up 1% to 4.9 million members.