LORIS, S.C.—Loris Healthcare System has agreed to become part of McLeod Health, Florence, S.C., according to a news release. No financial terms were disclosed. Voters in Horry County, S.C., approved a referendum earlier this month, with 85% of votes in favor, that gave the Loris Community Hospital District board the authority to conclude an agreement, according to the news release.
Regional News/South: Loris Healthcare System merges with McLeod Health, and other news
The Loris system includes 105-bed Loris Community Hospital and 50-bed Seacoast Medical Center, Little River, S.C. Seacoast opened as an outpatient center in 2000 and added its inpatient beds earlier this year. The McLeod system includes 453-bed McLeod Regional Medical Center in Florence and 63-bed McLeod Medical Center Dillon (S.C.) The Loris and McLeod systems are members of the Coastal Carolinas Health Alliance.
DALLAS—Vibra Healthcare, Mechanicsburg, Pa., will transfer operations of its Dallas medical district long-term acute-care hospital to suburban DeSoto, Texas, and LifeCare Hospitals of Dallas will relocate its LTAC operations to the Vibra location under the terms of a new deal. LifeCare Hospitals of Dallas, a 64-bed hospital that is part of for-profit LTAC chain LifeCare Hospitals, Plano, Texas, agreed to acquire select assets of 60-bed Vibra Specialty Hospital, Dallas, and will relocate to Vibra's location on Record Crossing Road later this year, according to a LifeCare news release. “The acquisition of the Vibra assets, our relocation in the medical district and our commitment to expand the capabilities in our new location is a reflection of our commitment to the Dallas area,” said Jay Lindsey, CEO of LifeCare Hospitals of Dallas, in the news release. Meanwhile, for-profit LTAC and rehabilitation chain Vibra announced that it plans to open a new LTAC facility with 40 licensed beds in Desoto, transferring assets from its Dallas operation in the process. “While we have been quite successful working with key referral sources in the Dallas medical district, we recognized it was a solid business opportunity to expand Vibra Healthcare in the rapidly growing market of southern Dallas County,” said Vibra founder, Chairman and CEO Brad Hollinger in a news release. The deal is subject to customary closing conditions and is expected to be complete before the end of the year, according to LifeCare.
ATLANTA—The CMS granted the the state of Georgia's Office of Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner leeway in implementing the healthcare reform law's medical-loss-ratio standard, which requires insurance companies to spend at least 80% of premium dollars on medical expenses in small-group and individual plans. The CMS determined that applying the full 80% medical-loss ratio in 2011 may destabilize the individual market in Georgia, but not to the degree that would warrant what the state insurance department requested. The standard in Georgia will be adjusted to 70% in 2011 and 75% in 2012, and the full 80% standard will apply in 2013. The state had asked for a lower ratio through 2016. According to the CMS, 12 of the 18 largest issuers in Georgia's individual market had medical-loss ratios above 65% in 2010, but the agency concluded that the 80% standard would still harm several other issuers. Because the state lacks policies that help high-risk individuals find coverage—such as a guaranteed-issue requirement, an issuer of last resort, or a high-risk pool—it would be difficult for some residents to find replacement coverage if insurers left the market as a result of the medical-loss ratio, the CMS said. To date, the CMS has denied Delaware's and North Dakota's requests for adjustments, granted Maine's full request and granted modified requests from Iowa, Kentucky, Nevada and New Hampshire. Applications from Florida, Indiana, Louisiana, Michigan, Kansas, North Carolina, Oklahoma and Texas remain under review.
BALTIMORE—A Maryland cardiologist convicted of implanting more than 100 unneeded heart stents and altering patient records to justify the surgeries has been sentenced to more than eight years in prison and ordered to pay back $579,000 in restitution, according to the U.S. Justice Department. John R. McLean, 59, of Salisbury, Md., was convicted in July of six counts of healthcare fraud after a two-week trial on accusations that he billed Medicare and Medicaid for medically unnecessary surgeries and follow-up treatments. He had faced up to 10 years in prison for the convictions. “Placing unnecessary stents in the hearts of patients is a crime of unthinkable proportions,” Nicholas DiGiulio, special agent in charge of HHS' inspector general's office, said in a news release. McLean saw the patients at his private practice as well as at 408-bed Peninsula Regional Medical Center, both in Salisbury, between April 2003 and December 2006. In August, officials at Peninsula Regional agreed to pay $1.8 million and submit to a corporate integrity agreement over allegations that the hospital failed to stop McLean's illicit surgeries. Peninsula Regional President and CEO Peggy Naleppa said in a statement that “working with the government and fully cooperating with all reviews has culminated in an agreement that strengthens our compliance program.” The hospital said it would be inappropriate to comment on McLean's sentence.
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