NASHVILLE—HCA and the Metropolitan Government of Nashville & Davidson County announced an agreement swapping the current site of the headquarters of the Metro Nashville Public Health Department for some other land that HCA owns, according to a news release. Also, HCA will supervise construction of a new public health headquarters for no more than $28.5 million; HCA will front the money for the project to the Metro Government, which will repay the loan with 3% interest. HCA also will receive a $50,000 project management fee. Finally, HCA will receive a full tax abatement on the headquarters for five years and a 50% abatement for five years after that. The company has no immediate plans to expand Centennial's campus, according to the release. The headquarters, known as the Lentz Health Center, was built in 1958 and is adjacent to Nashville-based HCA's 583-bed Centennial Medical Center and Parthenon Pavilion. The health department has considered renovations, but a new facility on Charlotte Avenue would be better designed for current patient and workforce needs and also would be located on a public bus line, according to Dr. Bill Paul, the Metro Government's director of health.
Regional News/South: HCA swaps land in Nashville, and other news
DALLAS—St. Jude Children's Research Hospital “immediately” spent donations from Stanford Financial Group, and to return the money—as demanded in a lawsuit filed on behalf of Stanford investors—would hurt the hospital's mission, a spokeswoman said. The Memphis, Tenn., hospital and its fundraiser, the American Lebanese Syrian Associated Charities, and the LeBonheur Children's Medical Center Foundation, were named in a lawsuit filed in federal court in Dallas by the Official Stanford Investors Committee. The lawsuit seeks to recoup donations of more than $7.4 million. The Stanford Financial Group is facing fraud allegations by the Securities and Exchange Commission. Stanford's chief financial officer pleaded guilty in 2009. Emily Callahan, a spokeswoman for St. Jude Hospital's fundraiser, said in a written statement: “While our hearts go out to those impacted by the Stanford investment issues, it would hurt our charitable mission to have to return the money already spent” on medical care, medical training and research. The lawsuit details more than three dozen donations to the Memphis hospital charities, including sizable donations made within months of the SEC allegations.
FORT OGLETHORPE, Ga. —Hutcheson Medical Center announced the resignations of its top two officers and promoted another executive to interim CEO, according to a news release. The executive changes come as the 294-bed hospital negotiates a partnership with Erlanger Health System, Chattanooga, Tenn., a Hutcheson spokeswoman said. The resignations of Charles Stewart, president and CEO, and Gerald Faircloth, vice president of operations and chief financial officer, were effective immediately. Debbie Reeves, Hutcheson's chief nursing officer, is now also interim CEO. Reeves will be assisted by Community Hospital Corp., Plano, Texas, which was hired last year as a consultant.
EDMOND, Okla.—Sisters of Mercy Health System, Chesterfield, Mo., broke ground on an $88 million health facility designed to serve as a prototype for the 22-hospital system for its operations in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma, according to a news release from the system. The building, which was designed with community input, will include: a walk-in clinic, a wellness center, an imaging/women's center, a retail pharmacy, a childcare center for patient use, sports rehabilitation, a cafe, a lab and an outpatient surgery center. “We have listened to the Edmond community every step of the way, beginning with community roundtables we held across the state last spring,” David Tew, Mercy's chief operating officer in Oklahoma, said in the release. The facility also will house about 30 specialized physicians, who will use an integrated approach to care. The wellness center will be able to track workout and rehab efforts in a patient's electronic health record. The site design combines storm water management and habitat conservation, and will include a preserved wildlife corridor and more than five acres of undisturbed existing woodland.
OCOEE, Fla. —The board of Health Central voted to move forward with a possible affiliation with Orlando Health. The vote was a step toward preparing a letter of intent in March, according to an explanation of the move posted on Health Central's website. The negotiations determining the details of any final agreement is expected to take several months, the hospital said. Orlando Health, which owns three hospitals, has two affiliations that fall short of full ownership, spokeswoman Kena Lewis said. The system holds a 50% stake in South Lake Hospital in Seminole, Fla., and a 20% stake in St. Cloud (Fla.) Regional Medical Center, Lewis said. Health Central chose Orlando Health over three other suitors considered for several months. For-profit chains Health Management Associates and HCA joined Orlando Health and Orlando-based Florida Hospital in making presentations to Health Central's board in November. The choice was later narrowed to Florida Health and Orlando Health. Health Central said the affiliation promises the ability to expand programs and services as well as keep up with the demands of federal healthcare reform, competition and a growing community.
HARLINGEN, Texas—Tax-exempt Valley Baptist Health System has signed a letter of intent to negotiate a joint venture with investor-owned Vanguard Health Systems, Nashville, according to a news release. The partners expect to finalize a definitive agreement by the end of summer. Broad terms of the partnership were not disclosed. The partnership will enable Valley Baptist to gain access to capital and to strengthen collaborations with physicians, according to the release. One possible move involving both of those reasons would be a buyout of Valley Baptist's partner in 88-bed Harlingen (Texas) Medical Center—MedCath Corp., Charlotte, N.C. Investor-owned MedCath holds a 34.8% stake in the hospital, according to a securities filing. Vanguard bought MedCath's 70.6% ownership interest in Arizona Heart Hospital, Phoenix, in October. MedCath is selling off its assets in order to liquidate the company. Valley Baptist signed a memorandum of understanding last year to merge with a neighboring tax-exempt hospital, Knapp Medical Center in Weslaco, Texas, in the hopes of improving its access to capital. The memorandum expired with no deal taking place. Valley Baptist includes a 480-bed hospital in Harlingen and a 280-bed hospital in Brownsville.
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. —Gov. Rick Scott wants to kill a program that establishes a database to track often-abused prescription drugs in the state, saying the system—which has been stalled by unrelated litigation over bidding—would not penalize the rogue pain clinics that dot South Florida. Last year, the Florida Legislature approved a law to create the database of prescriptions using private funds and grants, but state officials now say the state will have to pay at least $500,000 a year to operate the program. Scott recommended in a Feb. 7 budget proposal that the Legislature not fund it, saying through a spokesman that the law would not affect the “pill mills” that operate illegally because they would not self-report questionable behaviors. Republican Senate President Mike Haridopolos says lawmakers still plan to implement funding, and that the governor's budget proposals are only recommendations. Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi has said the state is the national epicenter of prescription diversion and abuse. A report from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement found that oxycodone use directly caused the deaths of 79 people in the state in 2009, and contributed to another 1,100 deaths.
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