PORT ST. JOE, Fla.-Florida authorities moved to permanently revoke the license of 30-bed Gulf Pines Hospital earlier this month, charging in an administrative complaint that the financially troubled hospital failed to follow infection-control and sanitation policies; violated patient privacy; and operated without proving it had adequate liability coverage since July 2004. Hospital officials were given 21 days to request an administrative hearing on the complaint by the Florida Agency for Health Care Administration. The agency ordered an emergency suspension of the Gulf Pines' license March 2, having previously suspended elective admissions there after the resignations of the hospital's chief executive officer, medical director, nursing director and respiratory therapist. The departures left Gulf Pines with three doctors. At deadline, hospital and agency representatives could not be reached for comment.
JACKSON, Miss.-Gov. Haley Barbour last week signed two bills designed to cover Mississippi's Medicaid budget shortfall. The bills were passed late March 13, culminating a contentious two-day special session. Medicaid's executive director, Warren Jones, said the program would be able to pay doctors, pharmacists, hospitals and other providers for taking care of Medicaid recipients. About 780,000 Mississippians, roughly one-quarter of the state's population, rely on Medicaid. The program was facing a $268 million shortfall for the budget year ending June 30 and was in danger of running out of money. Barbour ordered legislators to the state capitol for an unprecedented special session while the regular session is under way. One of the bills he signed will allow $240 million to be taken out of the state healthcare trust fund. The other bill authorizes Medicaid to spend the money. The state is supposed to repay the trust fund, plus 5% interest. House and Senate negotiators are still working on the regular session bill to reduce Medicaid's long-term expenses.
CHARLOTTE, N.C.-Carolinas HealthCare System earlier this month said that it had reached an agreement to purchase Sanger Clinic, the largest cardiology group in the Charlotte area with more than 60 physicians. Terms were not disclosed. The purchase was expected to close by March 31. Michael Tarwater, president and chief executive officer of Carolinas, said the integration of Sanger Clinic and Carolinas would help both organizations keep up with the rising demand for cardiac services while controlling costs. Carolinas owns or leases 10 hospitals and manages six others under contracts.