SACRAMENTO, Calif.A task force urged Californias Medicaid program to upgrade its aging computer system and convert to an all-electronic claims-payment process in an effort to clamp down on an estimated $3 billion in fraudulent payments annually. The program, known as Medi-Cal, spends a total of about $34 billion annually. The computer system is based on 30-year-old technologies that prevent regulators and prosecutors from obtaining the information they need to quickly identify fraud and hold perpetrators accountable, California Attorney General Bill Lockyer said in a news release. Lockyer set up the task force, which issued its recommendations Dec. 28.
SAN DIEGOTenet Healthcare Corp., Dallas, completed the sale of 291-bed Alvarado Hospital Medical Center to Plymouth Health, Sherman Oaks, Calif., for pretax proceeds of $22.5 million. Plymouth will continue to operate Alvarado as a full-service, acute-care hospital. Tenet was required to sell the hospital as part of a $21 million settlement with the federal government to resolve criminal charges related to physician-relocation agreements at Alvarado. The settlement came after two mistrials in the case. Plymouth was formed to buy Alvarado and is led by two physicians who are also brothers, Pedram and Pejman Salimpour. The Salimpours also own CareNex Health Services, Sherman Oaks, which provides disease-management, business-process and patient-physician communication services. Tenet owns or operates 63 hospitals, including six held for sale, in 12 states.
RENO, Nev.St. Marys Regional Medical Center joined Catholic Healthcare West, San Francisco, becoming Catholic Healthcare Wests 43rd hospital. The announcement of the completion of the alliance with the San Francisco-based system was made Jan. 1 and followed negotiations that were made public in October. St. Marys, founded in 1908 under the sponsorship of the Dominican Sisters of San Rafael, has 252 staffed beds and 2,200 employees. This alliance will enhance our ability to grow and accelerate the completion of much-needed improvements to our facilities, most notably our emergency department expansion, which is expected to get under way early this year, said Larry OBrien, president of St. Marys, in a news release. Our experience with CHW as a strategic planning partner and group purchasing participant over the past two years has laid an excellent foundation for joining the CHW organization.