WASHINGTONThe District of Columbia council voted unanimously to use $245 million in tobacco-settlement funds for a new healthcare complex, several new ambulatory-care centers and a host of preventive-health services. The council authorized spending $116 million to build new healthcare facilities; $80 million to improve the districts emergency-care system; and about $40 million for smoking cessation and cancer prevention programs. Some $6 million will fund a regional health information network. District officials now must wait for the completion of a RAND Corp. study that will guide the spending. The report is due early this year.
HUNTSVILLE, Ala.Huntsville Hospital and Athens (Ala.)-Limestone Hospital signed a letter of intent to form an alliance. Officials said they expect to spend about six months in due diligence before completing the deal. Both 711-bed Huntsville Hospital and 101-bed Athens-Limestone are not-for-profit, community-owned facilities. As part of the deal, Athens-Limestone withdrew its opposition to Huntsville Hospitals certificate-of-need application to build a 60-bed hospital in Madison, Ala. A hearing on the application is scheduled for Jan. 16. A rival Huntsville hospital, 120-bed Crestwood Medical Center, owned by Triad Hospitals, also is seeking CON approval to build a new hospital in the area, and opposes Huntsville Hospitals plan. Brad Jones, Crestwoods CEO, said many of the details of the affiliation remain unclear, but he said he is concerned about the fact that Huntsville already commands the vast majority of the hospital market in Madison Countyin excess of about 70%, he said. He also questioned whether Huntsville will be interested in building a full-service hospital in Madison, a growing community located between Huntsville and Athens.
SAN ANTONIOHealthcare real estate investment trust Medical Properties Trust, Birmingham, Ala., last month acquired the real estate for the Warm Springs Hospital System for $30 million and simultaneously leased the properties to Post Acute Medical, a new partnership between Mechanicsburg, Pa.-based companies Vibra Healthcare and B.A. Healthcare. In the deal, Medical Properties Trust purchased the real estate assets for 64-bed Warm Springs Rehabilitation Hospital in San Antonio; 34-bed Warm Springs Specialty Hospital, a long-term acute care facility in Luling, Texas; and 22-bed Victoria (Texas) Warm Springs Hospital, another long-term acute care facility. Post Acute Medical is a joint venture between Vibra Healthcares subsidiary Lonestar Healthcare and B.A. Healthcare, a specialty hospital company. Brad Hollinger, founder and chairman of Vibra Healthcare, said the partnership was formed specifically for the Warms Springs transaction, and that B.A. Healthcare invited Vibra in on the deal.