TALLAHASEE, Fla.—Holly Benson, the secretary of Florida's Agency for Health Care Administration, tendered her resignation, effective Oct. 28, according to a copy of her resignation letter provided by the AHCA. Benson, 38, was appointed to the position in February 2008 by Florida Gov. Charlie Crist, a Republican. In her resignation letter to Crist, Benson wrote that after meeting with the governor this week to discuss her future plans, it was clear that she needed to resign in order to pursue those opportunities. The speculation has been that Benson would run for the Republican nomination for state attorney general, according to published reports. Benson also noted in her resignation letter that the future of healthcare was being written in Washington, not Florida's capital of Tallahassee. Prior to becoming AHCA secretary, Benson was secretary of Florida's Business and Professional Regulation Department. Before that, she was a member of the Florida House of Representatives for six years
Regionals: Broward General Medical Center 1,800 former patients to get tested for hepatitis and HIV and more news ...
ROANOKE, Va.—The Carilion Clinic system agreed to sell an imaging center and surgery center acquired in a deal that met with an antitrust challenge from the Federal Trade Commission. Seven-hospital Carilion does not admit to an antitrust violation or concede the FTC's version of the facts put forward in an administrative complaint filed in July. An August filing in the case indicated that Carilion had agreed to sell the centers and was working toward an agreement with the commission. The proposed consent agreement calls for Carilion to divest the two businesses within three months to a buyer or buyers approved by the commission. The sale must include all of the associated assets that the buyer will need in order to compete with Carilion, such as patient and physician records, medical equipment, payer and supplier contracts and government permits. The agreement also includes measures intended to ensure the centers, both in Roanoke, are able to compete after they're cut loose.
BELLE GLADE, Fla.—The Health Care District of Palm Beach County, Fla., is admitting patients this month to a new 70-bed replacement facility in Belle Glade, located in a rural western section of the county whose hospital was hard-hit in a 2005 hurricane. Work on publicly owned Lakeside Medical Center finished up in October for about $67 million—about $6 million under budget and nearly four months ahead of schedule, the Palm Beach County hospital district said in a news release. The hospital includes 146,000 square feet of floor space and a direct connection from its emergency room to an on-campus helipad intended for district air ambulances. Lakeside Medical Center replaces 73-bed Glades General Hospital, which was built in 1946 and passed through several for-profit and public owners in recent years. The district sold Glades General to a private company in 1998, but reacquired the facility in 2004 out of a concern that the chain was not providing the level of service needed by the local community. A year later, Hurricane Wilma badly damaged the hospital, prompting the decision to build a replacement using proceeds from previous sales, public funds and philanthropic donations.
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla.—Broward General Medical Center this month urged more than 1,800 patients to get tested for hepatitis and HIV after discovering that one of its nurses had been using single-use saline bags and tubing on multiple patients, possibly for the past five years. The nurse was suspended by the 640-bed hospital after a tip was phoned in to the hospital's compliance hot-line Sept. 1 reporting that the nurse was seen giving cardiac chemical stress tests with the same medical supplies on more than one patient. The nurse subsequently resigned, and a police report filed by Broward General Medical Center CEO James Thaw has led to a criminal investigation, Thaw said. “We are approaching this as aggressively as humanly possible,” he said. “This is an incredibly egregious act by one individual that at this time is inexplicable.” The nurse, whose identity was not released by the public hospital, administered chemical cardiac tests in an isolated testing area to 1,851 patients between January 2004 and September 2009, according to hospital records. Each patient has been notified by certified mail that they should report to a local laboratory for testing, even if they have not felt sick. The tests are being paid for by the hospital.
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