LAPLACE, La.-LifePoint Hospitals, Brentwood, Tenn., signed a definitive agreement in May to buy 60-bed River Parishes Hospital in LaPlace from Universal Health Services, King of Prussia, Pa., for $24 million. The hospital is in a rural area about 20 minutes outside of New Orleans, so it doesn't fit Universal's strategy of owning hospitals in midsized, growing markets, said Alan Miller, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Universal. The deal is expected to close June 30. Currently, LifePoint owns or operates 29 hospitals, and UHS owns or operates 28 acute-care hospitals.
BIRMINGHAM, Ala.-Baptist Health System said in May that it laid off more than 200 employees in a move expected to save about $10 million a year. The layoffs, targeted mostly at administrative positions, will shed approximately 4% of the 5,100 employees at six of the system's 10 hospitals and did not include physicians or bedside nurses, Baptist said. Four hospitals expected to leave the system have not been affected. They are 115-bed Cullman (Ala.) Regional Medical Center; 101-bed Coosa Valley Baptist Medical Center, Sylacauga; 45-bed Cherokee Baptist Medical Center, Centre; and 37-bed Lawrence Baptist Medical Center, Moulton. The news at Baptist has been almost uniformly gloomy since July 2003, when a doctors' revolt forced an abrupt end to a controversial plan to sell the system to for-profit Triad Hospitals. That triggered the dismissal of then-Chief Executive Officer Dennis Hall and the departure of about a dozen board members. Baptist earned $13.2 million on revenue of $404 million in the first six months of its fiscal 2004.
MEMPHIS, Tenn.-Baptist Memorial Health Care Corp. said in May it has become the fifth healthcare system to join the M.D. Anderson Cancer Manager Program, developed by the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. Three of Baptist's 16 hospitals and the West Clinic, a physician practice specializing in oncology, hematology and other cancer-related services, will participate in the extensive training and credentialing needed to join the program, Baptist said. The program should be implemented by this fall. The M.D. Anderson Cancer Center is on the campus of Texas Medical Center in Houston.
CLARKSBURG, W.Va.-Continuing a long-running certificate-of-need dispute, Fairmont (W.Va.) General Hospital said last week that it planned to file an appeal by the end of the week on an administrative law judge's recent ruling upholding CON approval of a $265 million replacement facility for United Hospital Center, Clarksburg. The replacement facility is 15 miles from United Hospital's current location and about five miles from the border of Marion County, where Fairmont General is located. The dispute dates back to at least 2002, when Fairmont General rejected a proposal that it combine with United Hospital in a joint replacement facility. Instead, Fairmont General agreed to a long-term lease with Triad Hospitals, under which Triad would build it a separate, $75 million replacement facility. Triad backed out of the deal after United Hospital won CON approval, saying it didn't expect both projects to clear the CON board; Fairmont General's proposal was rejected.