KNOXVILLE, Tenn.—Mercy Health Partners said it has notified Scott County, Tenn., that it plans to terminate its lease for 25-bed St. Mary's Medical Center of Scott County, Oneida, Tenn., a critical-access hospital. Mercy took on the lease from Attentus Healthcare, Franklin, Tenn., in January 2008 and then agreed to an amended lease with the county in May 2009. Mercy intends to relinquish the lease as of May 24, 2012. “Mercy will make every effort to help Scott County officials identify a new hospital operator to assume the lease,” A. David Jimenez, Mercy's president and CEO, said in a news release. Mercy is part of Catholic Healthcare Partners, Cincinnati.
Regionals: Mercy Health plans to terminate lease and more news . . .
KINGSPORT, Tenn.—Wellmont Health System, Kingsport, said it has acquired substantially all of the assets of Cardiovascular Associates, Kingsport, making the practice's 35 doctors and 220 other employees part of Wellmont. Cardiovascular Associates already was managing Wellmont's systemwide cardiac program, with a presence at seven out of eight Wellmont hospitals. Bob Burgin, Wellmont's interim CEO, said in a news release that the acquisition will enable the physicians to better integrate into Wellmont's hospitals, improving quality and the value provided to patients.
KNOXVILLE, Tenn.—The University of Tennessee Medical Center said it opened its $26 million heart hospital last month. The 126,000-square-foot building is adjacent to the 485-bed hospital and features four floors, but only the first and second floors are built out. The main floor serves as a new front entrance and atrium to the medical center. The second floor has 24 cardiovascular intensive-care beds, adding to the six such beds the medical center already had. The other two floors will be built out to handle the most prevalent heart, lung and vascular cases. The heart hospital was designed for a potential future expansion that would double it to eight stories.
LOUDOUN COUNTY, Va.—County commissioners have given zoning approval to a $195 million, 164-bed hospital proposed by Nashville-based HCA. Virginia regulators agreed last September to allow HCA to move a certificate of need granted in 2004 to the current site on U.S. Route 50. The change was sought after Loudoun County commissioners voted down HCA's original plan for a different site in the face of opposition from some residents and competitor Inova Health System, Falls Church, Va. Barring unforeseen delays, the hospital should open on its 50-acre site by December 2015, according to a spokesman for HCA Virginia, which includes HCA's 10 hospitals on 13 campuses in the state. The 337,000-square-foot hospital will include seven operating rooms, comprehensive diagnostic services and a cardiac catheterization laboratory. HCA Virginia also has an agreement with 230-bed Children's National Medical Center, Washington, for pediatric services to be offered at the hospital, to be named StoneSpring Medical Center.
ROANOKE, Va.,—Carilion Clinic this month proposed selling an imaging center to Lake Forest, Calif.-based InSight Health Corp., in order to satisfy a Federal Trade Commission agreement resolving an antitrust challenge. Carilion Clinic acquired the Center for Advanced Imaging in 2008 along with the mutually owned Center for Surgical Excellence. A year later the FTC hit the seven-hospital system with an administrative complaint alleging the acquisitions would dampen competition for outpatient imaging and surgery in and around Roanoke. To resolve the matter, Carilion agreed to sell both centers to buyers approved by the FTC. InSight Health Corp. owns imaging centers in 11 states, including three in Virginia. The FTC will accept comments on the transaction through June 21. In March the commission approved the sale of the surgery center to a group of investors formed by a Roanoke nephrology group.
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla.—An ethics review and a criminal investigation have cleared a North Broward Hospital District commissioner in Fort Lauderdale of allegations that his private employment with a devicemaker was a conflict of interest with his seat on the public hospital district board, according to legal filings. Miguel “Mike” Fernandez was investigated after the health district's General Counsel Sam Goren requested an advisory ethics opinion from state officials on whether Fernandez's role as a general manager of sales for Europe and Latin America for devicemaker SonoSite was in conflict with his role as a publicly appointed hospital commissioner. The ethics officials subsequently concluded Fernandez did not have a precluded conflict of interests, even though Broward does buy equipment from SonoSite. A Broward County prosecutor also picked up the case from local media reports. The close-out memo of the investigation, provided by the hospital, says that investigators interviewed hospital purchasing officials and concluded there was no evidence Fernandez had done anything to enrich himself using his official roles.
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