BELVIDERE, Ill.Northwest Suburban Community Hospital has filed for Chapter 11 protection in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware. The July 31 filing was required under an agreement to sell the facility to SwedishAmerican Health System in neighboring Rockford, Ill., about 85 miles northwest of Chicago. Northwest Suburban, operated by a for-profit company incorporated in Ypsilanti, Mich., opened in 1997 as a specialty hospital for bariatric surgery. As a consequence of increasing competition for the service, surgeries declined from a peak of 1,300 in 2003 to 330 in 2006, according to court documents. The company also blames its misfortunes on an inability to get adequate reimbursement from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois. Blue Cross, meanwhile, has by far the biggest claim against Northwest Suburban, according to the bankruptcy filing, seeking $7.2 million in disputed overpayments. The 69-bed hospital ended the bariatric program in January, and has been operating a stand-by emergency room supported by a handful of staffed beds. SwedishAmerican, a 270-bed hospital anchoring a network of outpatient clinics in and around Rockford, has agreed to pay $5.8 million for Northwest Suburban. The sale is contingent on a public auction and change-of-ownership approval by the Illinois Health Facilities Planning Board. The deal is expected to close in 30 to 60 days, said Richard Walsh, executive vice president and chief operating officer for SwedishAmerican. Walsh said the system will spend at least $2.2 million renovating the facility. Though the hospital is licensed for 55 beds, the plans call for just six beds with an emergency room and a range of outpatient services, including a sleep laboratory, Walsh said.
MINNEAPOLISAllina Hospitals & Clinics entered into strategic integration talks with St. Paul-based Aspen Medical Group, a multispecialty group practice. Negotiations, under way for months, do not include a binding agreement between the potential partners, said David Kanihan, a spokesman for 10-hospital Allina. He declined to say what the deal might look like. Were still in the thick of the discussions, he said. In a written statement, the system said: Allina and Aspen are currently in discussions regarding a strategic integration that would enhance both organizations ability to provide exceptional care to their patients. The discussions are ongoing, and we expect a final decision to be made by the end of the year. Robert Van Why, Aspens chief executive officer, declined to comment.
TERRE HAUTE, Ind.HealthSouth Corp. confirmed that it will close HealthSouth Hospital Terre Haute, a 60-bed long-term, acute-care hospital, by Oct. 4. Overall market conditions, combined with a very difficult regulatory environment for the LTAC industry, are the reasons for the closing, according to Mark Tarr, executive vice president of operations at Birmingham, Ala.-based HealthSouth. I wouldnt totally lay it on regulatory, but the two combined dont make a feasible hospital going forward. Tarr also said that HealthSouth will abide by our severance policy and do everything we can to support appropriate placement for the hospitals roughly 80 employees who will be affected by the decision. The company will sell the real estate and land associated with the hospital, which is located near 259-bed Union Hospital, Terre Haute, and 223-bed Terre Haute Regional Hospital, Tarr said. HealthSouth bought the facility as an inpatient rehabilitation hospital in the late 1990s and converted it into an LTAC a few years later. A year ago this month, the rehabilitation provider announced its strategy to divest three of its business unitsoutpatient rehabilitation, surgery centers and diagnostic servicesin an attempt to become a pure play in inpatient rehabilitation. Since then, it has sold its diagnostic and surgery center division to private-equity firms and its outpatient rehabilitation unit to privately held Select Medical Corp., Mechanicsburg, Pa.
INDIANAPOLISCigna HealthCare has acquired Sagamore Health Network, the largest leased healthcare provider network in Indiana, for an undisclosed sum, the insurer announced. Sagamores roughly 300,000 members have access to a provider network of 9,400 primary-care physicians, 26,600 specialists, 1,100 other providers and 210 hospitals, serving Indiana and parts of Kentucky and Ohio. Cigna already has 150,000 medical plan members and 110,000 dental plan members in Indiana, and was under a limited shared-network agreement with Sagamore, signed earlier this year. Sagamore will continue to operate under its own brand, Cigna officials said. In a leased-network arrangement, a network leasing organization contracts with physicians and hospitals for discounted rates. The leasing organization sells access to that network of providers to insurers, managed-care organizations and third-party administrators.
CHICAGONurses at Mount Sinai Hospital have voted against joining a California union seeking to expand its membership across the U.S. Roughly 64% of the 456 nurses who voted rejected representation by the National Nurses Organizing Committee, the national organizing arm of the California Nurses Association. About 90% of eligible nurses voted, according to the union. We are in hopes that the union will accept the results without costly objections or challenges, said Dianne Hunter, a spokeswoman for the 312-bed hospital, in a written statement.
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