ROXBORO, N.C.—Duke LifePoint Healthcare signed its second memorandum of understanding to acquire a hospital in North Carolina since the joint venture was formed in February. The joint venture, consisting of Duke University Health System, Durham, N.C., and LifePoint Hospitals, Brentwood, Tenn., has agreed to acquire 50-bed Person Memorial Hospital, Roxboro, according to a news release. The hospital also includes 60 beds in a skilled-nursing unit. Officials from Duke LifePoint and Person Memorial expect to conduct due diligence on the deal for the next 60 to 90 days toward negotiating a definitive agreement. The deal will require review by the North Carolina attorney general's office. Duke LifePoint previously announced its memorandum of understanding to acquire 102-bed Maria Parham Medical Center in Henderson, N.C. The deal is still pending. The joint venture completed its first deal last month when it acquired the North Carolina cardiac catheterization operations of Charlotte-based MedCath Corp. for $25 million, according to MedCath. Investor-owned LifePoint owns a majority stake in the joint venture with tax-exempt Duke.
Regional News/South: Duke LifePoint Healthcare acquiring Person Memorial, and other news
MIAMI—A battle between privacy and free-speech rights involving gun ownership is swirling around Florida doctors' offices. The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Miami to block a new state law that is intended to prevent pediatricians from asking parents whether they keep firearms in the home and if those guns are stored securely. Critics of the law, including the American College of Physicians and the Florida Pediatric Society, said they were protesting the law on freedom-of-speech grounds because it restricts physicians from talking about a public health issue, and more generally because lawmakers were intruding on what doctors and patients can discuss in an examination room. After the announcement of the lawsuit, the National Rifle Association published a legislative alert on its website defending the law, saying it was designed to keep “gun ban politics” out of doctor's offices. The NRA said gun owners were concerned that their privacy was being violated because information about legal firearms could be entered into medical records, which could later be used by insurance companies to deny coverage.
LA PLATA, Md.—The University of Maryland Medical System reached a deal to acquire Civista Medical Center in La Plata on July 1 after managing the 129-bed hospital and other operations for two years. The UM system, based in Baltimore and which owns seven hospitals, agreed to spend $16.5 million on the deal, according to a notice filed with bond investors by Civista Health, the hospital's corporate parent. The system agreed to spend $4 million to buy out the hospital's property lease from Charles (Md.) County. Civista Medical Center closed its fiscal 2010 last June with an operating gain of $1.7 million on $103.8 million in revenue. The deal will not alter the debt structures for Civista or UM Medical System unless financial conditions make such steps favorable, according to the notice. Civista Health entered into a management agreement with the system in 2009 and has since made acquisitions to increase its campus by 40%, according to a news release announcing the deal.
Three UM system executives will continue their leadership roles at Civista: Noel Cervino as CEO, Erik Boas as chief financial officer and Dr. Mark Dumais as chief medical officer.
TALLAHASSEE—After initially resisting efforts to pass an expansive new law on prescription drug abuse in Florida, Gov. Rick Scott signed a bill that he said would “end Florida's infamous role as the nation's Pill Mill capital.” The compromise law includes numerous provisions, including requiring physicians who prescribe narcotics to register with the state health department, banning doctors from prescribing the most-abused drugs “except under specific circumstances,” and expanding the statewide database in which pharmacies and wholesale distributors report drug purchases. The law also increases penalties for overprescribing oxycodone and allocates $3 million to law enforcement and prosecutors who focus on prescription drug abuse. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement reported that in 2009, 79 people in Florida died from abusing oxycodone and another 1,100 died from causes in which the drug contributed to their deaths. Scott said in a news release that 98 of the nation's top 100 oxycodone-purchasing physicians are in Florida.
Send us a letter
Have an opinion about this story? Click here to submit a Letter to the Editor, and we may publish it in print.