The American Association of Ambulatory Surgery Centers and FASA agreed to merge, the groups announced. The two largest ASC trade groups will become one organization effective Jan. 1, 2008the same date a new payment system for ASCs will kick in under Medicare, setting a new compensation rate of 65% of what hospital outpatient departments are paid. Some ASCs will see their payments drop dramatically under the new system. The AAASC had 675 member facilities as of March, according to one of its board members, and had revenue of $1.2 million in the 12 months ended June 30, 2006, according to its latest Internal Revenue Service Form 990. FASA said it has 2,600 members but declined to provide financials. An affiliated organization, Foundation for Ambulatory Surgery in America, had revenue of $4.5 million in 2005, according to its latest Form 990.
Microsoft Corp. launched a consumer-focused, secure personal health-record platform, Microsoft HealthVault, designed to reach families in their homes, physicians in their communities and providers worldwide. First reported in Modern Healthcares Health IT Strategist, the system combines a search engine, a private and secure database and a Web site to help individuals and families build, track and share their vital health information. Microsoft said that it would not use the health data for commercial purposes unless first given the OK to do so. While the system is free for users, physicians, health plans and others, the company said it plans to make its money back on the search applications inherent in the system and by online advertisements (See related story, p. 30).
Ronald Levy, president and chief executive officer of SSM Health Cares seven-hospital St. Louis operations, resigned. Levy, who is also a regional president and system vice president for the 14-hospital Catholic system, cited professional and personal reasons for his departure, according to a written statement from the system. The 57-year-old executives decision to step down Nov. 9 was based on his professional judgment that it was time for a leadership change, and his personal desire to embark on a new phase of his life, the statement said. SSM Health Care named Jim Sanger, 63, to succeed Levy. Sanger is president and CEO of St. Marys Good Samaritanwhich operates hospitals in Mount Vernon and Centralia, Ill.and an SSM Health Care regional president and system vice president.
Ascension Health, St. Louis, Catholic Health Initiatives, Denver, and Catholic Health East, Newtown Square, Pa., announced a $200 million venture capital fund, CHV II, which will invest in later-stage healthcare device, technology and service companies and healthcare venture funds. The fund is the second for Ascension Health, the largest U.S. Catholic and private not-for-profit health system. The newly created fund, which has made its first two investments, will be managed by Ascension Health Ventures, said Matthew Hermann, Ascension Health Ventures managing director. Each CHV II partner will hold one board seat, Hermann said, but he declined to say how much each Catholic system invested.
Community Health Systems, Franklin, Tenn., said in a securities filing that it is canceling an information technology contract with Perot Systems Corp. that Triad Hospitals signed in January 2006. The decision, effective Dec. 31, is the latest change that Community has made since it acquired Triad in July for $6.98 billion. Perot Systems said in a news release that Community will pay a termination fee and reimburse Perot for some shutdown costs. The contract was part of a $1.3 billion IT initiative that Triad started with Perot and McKesson Corp. Community and Perot are negotiating terms of a new arrangement under which Perot would provide systems integration and infrastructure services to Community, Perot said.
Prescription drug distributor McKesson Corp. said it plans to buy Oncology Therapeutics Network for $575 million in a deal driven by steadily rising demand for cancer medicine. The purchase would represent McKessons second major acquisition this year, reflecting managements attempt to build on the San Francisco-based companys comeback from a devastating financial scandal. Earlier this year, McKesson completed a $1.1 billion takeover of healthcare administrator Per-Se Technologies. McKesson expects to take control of Oncology Therapeutics before 2008. Oncology Therapeutics also distributes drugs for rheumatoid arthritis and hepatitis C. The privately held company has about 500 employees and $3 billion in annual sales.
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