FORT SMITH, Ark.—Health Management Associates, Naples, Fla., said it completed its acquisition of Sparks Health System, which consists primarily of Sparks Regional Medical Center, Fort Smith, effective Dec. 1. Terms were not disclosed. HMA owns one other hospital in Arkansas, Summit Medical Center in Van Buren, which is about seven miles from Sparks Regional. In March, the board of not-for-profit Sparks signed a letter of intent to sell the system to Jackson Hospital Affiliates; the hospital division of staffing firm Jackson Healthcare, Alpharetta, Ga. Jackson and Sparks scuttled that agreement in June. Sparks signed its letter of intent with HMA in August.
Regionals: HMA completed acquisition and more news ...
MIAMI—In 2008, Miami-Dade County, Fla., was home to 2% of Medicare beneficiaries receiving home-health care, but Miami-Dade providers collected more than half of the $1 billion the government spent in outlier payments for home-health services, according to a new report from HHS' inspector general's office. The office analyzed all home-health claims that Medicare paid in 2008 in order to find aberrant payment patterns. The most aberrations were found in Miami-Dade, an area that has become well-known as a hotbed of Medicare fraud. The results regarding Miami-Dade and 23 other counties should invite the attention of the healthcare fraud task force of HHS and the U.S. Justice Department, the report concluded. The CMS makes outlier payments beyond the standard rate under Medicare's prospective payment system for unusually expensive home care. Outlier payments on average account for 7% of home-health payments, but they made up nearly 60% of home-health payments in Miami-Dade. Miami-Dade also was home to 25 of 29 home-health providers nationwide that received more than $100,000 in outlier payments. A new CMS rule effective Jan. 1 will cap outlier payments at 10% for any individual home-health agency, and the CMS is taking additional steps to address the apparent abuse.
DALLAS—Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas recently completed what is said to be the largest expansion in the 679-bed facility's 43-year history: the 177-bed Hamon Tower, which took three years and $220 million to build. The tower is named after Nancy Hamon, widow of Texas oilman Jake L. Hamon, who donated $10 million to the project. The new 10-story, 460,000-square-foot facility has 177 private rooms, a fully integrated electronic health-record system, advanced diagnostic and imaging equipment, and is devoted to treating intensive-care patients.
PARIS, Texas—Essent Healthcare, Nashville, said it plans to shift all acute-care services to the north campus of its two-campus, 228-bed Paris Regional Medical Center. The transition will be completed by fall 2010 with the help of the Camden Group, a consulting firm, and a steering committee of physicians and employees, Essent said. Some services, such as post-acute, psychiatric or rehabilitation, will be housed at the south campus, along with some support services, such as human resources or accounting, an Essent spokeswoman said. Essent purchased the two campuses from Christus Health, Irving, Texas, in 2004, and has invested $23 million in them, including the opening of a heart hospital on the north campus. When Christus first announced its intention to sell the hospitals, it cited physician and community resistance to consolidating services after it bought the only competitor to its Christus St. Joseph's Hospital in 2001. Christus said the hospitals lost $12.4 million in the fiscal year ended June 30, 2003.
QUINCY, Fla.—An HCA hospital in Florida has signed a letter of intent to lease Gadsden Community Hospital, Quincy, Fla., which regulators shuttered in 2005, records show. Gadsden County commissioners approved the letter of intent at a meeting last week, according to the county. The county and the Nashville-based hospital giant hope to have the hospital reopened by June 21, 2010, pending the negotiation of a definitive agreement and all necessary regulatory approvals, according to the letter of intent. HCA's 177-bed Capital Regional Medical Center, Tallahassee, would pay $1 to receive the operating lease for Gadsden Memorial for an initial term of five years, according to the letter of intent. Initially, the hospital would have four acute-care beds, with the possibility of as many as 25 beds later. HCA would have the first right of refusal should the county decide to sell the hospital. Florida's Agency for Health Care Administration suspended the hospital's license in November 2005, citing a severe lack of equipment, supplies and key oversight executives such as a medical director and a risk manager. The county sold nearly $9.8 million in bonds to pay to refurbish the hospital.
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