PUYALLUP, Wash.—A $400 million patient-care tower opened at 221-bed MultiCare Good Samaritan Hospital in Puyallup, Wash., on Feb. 17. The 357,000-square foot, nine-story tower includes 78 private patient rooms, a new emergency room with 45 private treatment rooms and four triage rooms and six surgical suites. The tower doubles the not-for-profit hospital's space to a total of 275 licensed beds. Rooms are outfitted with a smart screen that serves as television, computer and treatment whiteboard in one. “The devices allow patients to watch TV, check e-mail and access the Internet, and stay informed about their care,” according to the hospital. Electronic records and supply-chain tracking systems have been deployed. The tower has a “green” roof where native plants grow, and other environmental features.
Regional News/West: MultiCare opens new patient tower, and other news
SAN FRANCISCO—Catholic Healthcare West agreed to pay $9.1 million to settle allegations that seven of its hospitals submitted false claims in Medicare cost reports. The settlement resolves four allegations, all of which occurred in the 1990s, according to a statement from the U.S. attorney in Sacramento, Calif., which investigated the matter with HHS' inspector general's office and the U.S. Justice Department. The U.S. attorney alleged that three CHW hospitals received overpayments caused by Medicare misprocessing and did not return the money. The U.S. attorney also alleged that two hospitals submitted inflated home health agency costs, while another submitted inflated home health agency costs and also overstated its entitlement to Medicare disproportionate-share payments. And the U.S. attorney alleged a seventh hospital was overpaid for care related to end-stage renal disease. In a statement, 38-hospital CHW said it “has been cooperating with the U.S. Department of Justice since 2001 to review costs reports related to patient care delivered at our hospitals between 1990 and 2000. After a decade of reviewing these records, some instances of errors were discovered. CHW is committed to ethical business practices, denies that it intentionally withheld funds and is pleased to have resolved this matter.”
PHOENIX—In a deal that is said to represent the first step in its plan “to build a national group of urgent-care clinics,” a company that owns nine urgent-care clinics in North Carolina has acquired an operator of five urgent-care clinics in Phoenix. Urgent Cares of America Holdings, a company formed when Urgent Cares of America was purchased by New York private-equity firm Comvest Group in November, has purchased Tri-City Express Care, a Gilbert, Ariz.-based company that does business in the Phoenix area as Urgent Care Express. No terms were disclosed. According to an Urgent Cares of America/Comvest news release last week, the deal “will take effect immediately,” and no “wholesale changes” are planned for the Phoenix clinics. Urgent Cares of America operates mostly in the Raleigh area, and will have two more North Carolina clinics opening shortly and is planning two more in the state.
MARICOPA, Ariz. —Banner Health is building a primary-care center in cooperation with the city and county of Maricopa to provide treatment to this underserved area south of Phoenix. The Maricopa City Council approved the plan on Feb. 22. Construction will begin this summer on 11 acres purchased by Banner Health for $1.7 million, with a completion date expected in mid-2012. The Banner Health Center will have more than 80,000 square feet, built in phases, with space of 18 physicians and laboratory and imaging services. Specialist care will be added later. The cost of building the first 40,000 square feet of the center is $17.2 million, according to Banner Health officials. Not-for-profit Banner Health is paying facility costs, while the city of Maricopa has committed $1.2 million in public improvement assistance and grant funding to help defray the costs.
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