Prexus Health Partners, Cincinnati, filed plans to build a medical complex that would include a 30-bed surgical hospital in New Albany, Ind., across the Ohio River from Louisville, Ky. Tentative plans call for a 60,000-square-foot facility and a separate 10,000-square-foot building. Prexus, formerly known as Premiere Healthcare Partners, is a physician-owned company that operates surgery centers in the Cincinnati area, as well as the Butler County (Ohio) Medical Center in Hamilton, a small for-profit surgery hospital co-owned by local physicians.
… and two in Texas …A physician-owned acute-care hospital is slated to open in Texas this month when Houston-based University Hospital Systems’ University General Hospital is completed. That $50 million, 10-story hospital is the company’s first, says University President and CEO Kamran Nezami, the only nonphysician partner in the company. Former Memorial Hermann Healthcare System administrator Jerel Humphrey will serve as hospital CEO. University also says it will partner with Houston developer Park 8 to build Chinatown General Hospital, a $68 million, acute-care hospital. University will lease the 80-bed hospital from Park 8 and will partner with about 80 physician-owners.
… and one in Florida (maybe)Nemours Foundation, Jacksonville, Fla., continued its pursuit of approval to build a children’s hospital in Orlando, filing a second certificate-of-need application. A CON decision is expected in December. The state rejected Nemours’ first request in June, saying the pediatric specialty group had not established a need for the $270 million, 95-bed hospital. The proposal faced opposition from pediatric-service providers, chiefly Orlando Regional Healthcare, which operates Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children. Nemours and Orlando Regional had discussed a joint project, but talks fell apart.
Docs warm to ASPsThe application service provider model of distributing computer software has long held promise as a low-cost method of providing healthcare information technology to small physician offices. The problem was few physicians bought electronic health-record systems in the past decade and far fewer still wanted to touch ASP-based EHRs. But physician resistance to ASPs appears to be easing, and with recent legal safe harbors and exceptions established by the Bush administration for IT sharing, use of ASP-based EHRs could grow much more common, according to a report at last month’s work-group meeting of the American Health Information Community. So far, Masspro, which is running an HHS pilot program in Massachusetts to extend IT to small physician offices, has helped with 16 ASP-based IT implementations out of a total of 56 installations, says Chuck Parker, vice president and chief technology officer at Masspro.
Emdeon wants outEmdeon Corp., Elmwood Park, N.J., says it will sell its Emdeon Practice Services unit, which makes medical-records and practice-management software, to Sage Software for $565 million in cash in a deal expected to be completed this month. Emdeon, formerly WebMD, also says it continues to explore strategic alternatives for its business-services unit -- Emdeon’s medical-claims clearinghouse -- and expects to make an announcement shortly. Sage is part of the North American subsidiary of Sage Group, Newcastle, England. Emdeon also reported second-quarter net income of $23.2 million on revenue of $354.9 million. Emdeon Practice Services had revenue of $77.3 million during the quarter, down from $78.6 million in the year-ago quarter.
Coming clean with patients …About 98% of physicians surveyed said serious medical errors should be disclosed to patients, but about 60% said they will be less likely to do so if they "think the patient would not understand what I was telling him or her," according to a study in last month’s Archives of Internal Medicine. The study included anonymous responses from 2,637 U.S. and Canadian physicians between July 2003 and March 2004. Other factors the doctors said that might inhibit disclosure included: "If I think the patient would not want to know about the error" (30%); "if the patient is unaware that the error happened" (21%); and "if I think I might get sued" (19%). According to a second article examining other responses from the same physicians, there exist wide variations in how physicians disclose medical errors. For example, 56% of respondents would mention the adverse event but not the error, and 19% would volunteer no information about the error’s cause.
... and with provider peersA new national study reiterates a widely accepted maxim: Communication is one of the keys to any good relationship—especially those involving hospital administrators and physicians. These sometimes "volatile" relationships call for added focus on both collaboration and communication, according to a study by consultancy Mitretek Healthcare and the American Hospital Association’s Society for Healthcare Strategy and Market Development. The report provides benchmark data on more than 60 strategies that hospitals are using to strengthen ties with physicians, including a focus on economic alignment between the two groups.