CHAPEL HILL, N.C.—UNC Health Care opened a 10-bed expansion of the newborn critical-care center within its North Carolina Children's and Women's Hospital, which itself is part of 738-bed University of North Carolina Hospitals. All of the facilities are in Chapel Hill. The critical-care unit now accounts for 58 of the 150 beds in the children's hospital. Clinicians and families whose newborns had been patients in the unit helped design the new “pod” of 10 beds. Some of those family members now serve on a family advisory board. Several families were on hand for a ribbon-cutting ceremony last month.
Regional News/South: UNC Health Care opens newborn critical-care expansion, and other news
BALTIMORE—A Maryland cardiologist who was accused of inserting medically unnecessary heart stents in patients and then ordering rounds of unneeded follow-up tests has been convicted of fraud. A jury in U.S. District Court convicted Dr. John McLean, 59, of Salisbury, Md., of six counts of healthcare fraud for billing Medicare, Medicaid and private insurers for at least $700,000 in unneeded work, according to a news release from the U.S. attorney's office in Maryland. “The evidence shows that Dr. McLean egregiously violated the trust of his patients,” U.S. Attorney Rod Rosenstein said in the news release. “We do not bring federal prosecutions based on discretionary judgments that might be disputed by reasonable medical professionals.” Prosecutors told the jurors that McLean used his private-practice office and his privileges at 408-bed Peninsula Regional Medical Center to perform more than 100 cardiac catheterizations between 2003 and 2007, falsely recording arterial blockages in patients' medical records to justify the procedures for billing purposes. After the surgeries, McLean also ordered batteries of unneeded tests, including stress tests and echocardiograms. A spokeswoman at Peninsula Regional Medical Center said the hospital had no comment about McLean's conviction, and McLean's attorneys could not be reached. Prosecutors say McLean faces up to 10 years in prison when he's sentenced by U.S. District Judge William Quarles Jr. in November. Government officials also will seek forfeiture of McLean's profits from the surgeries and procedures.
SUPPLY, N.C.—The replacement hospital for Brunswick Community Hospital opened July 31, according to a news release. The 74-bed Brunswick Novant Medical Center includes five operating rooms and an endoscopy procedure room and will offer a range of diagnostic imaging services, outpatient services and a pharmacy. The project cost about $107 million. Nashville-based HCA sold Brunswick to its current parent company, Novant Health, Winston-Salem, N.C., in 2005.
ORLANDO, Fla.—IPC the Hospitalist Co. has acquired Coast to Coast Physicians Alliance for an undisclosed sum. With the deal, the North Hollywood, Calif.-based hospitalist physician group practice will add about 26,000 patient visits annually. The deal also represents IPC's first foray into the Orlando market. Dr. Jauvid Ayadi, Coast to Coast co-founder and partner, will continue at IPC as practice group leader. In an unrelated transaction, IPC said it also has acquired the post-acute-care practice of Dr. Eladio Dieguez, based in Ocala, Fla.
CHARLOTTE, N.C.—MedCath Corp. has completed two previously announced sales of its stakes in heart hospitals in Arkansas and New Mexico, according to news releases. Ardent Health Services, Nashville, completed its acquisition of a majority interest in Heart Hospital of New Mexico from MedCath, according to an Ardent news release. MedCath owned a 74.8% stake in the 55-bed hospital in Albuquerque, with physician investors owning the remaining stake, according to a MedCath securities filing. The deal, announced in May, values the hospital at $119 million. Ardent plans to combine the hospital with its Lovelace Medical Center and rename the facility Heart Hospital of New Mexico at Lovelace Medical Center, according to its release. MedCath also completed the sale of its 70.3% interest in 112-bed Arkansas Heart Hospital, Little Rock, according to a MedCath release. The buyer is AR-MED, a limited liability company majority-owned by Dr. Bruce Murphy, who already owned a stake in the hospital. The deal valued the hospital at $73 million. MedCath is in the process of selling its remaining assets and dissolving the company. Shareholders approved the liquidation plan, as well as these two deals, at their annual meeting last week, according to a securities filing. MedCath still owns stakes in four hospitals.
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