PITTSBURGH—Officials for Western Pennsylvania Hospital said an upcoming renovation will reopen and expand the emergency room and renovate five medical-surgical floors.
Regional News/Northeast: Western Pennsylvania Hospital set for renovation, and other news
The Pittsburgh hospital factored significantly into a failed turnaround effort for five-hospital West Penn Allegheny Health System, which recently agreed to a takeover by Pittsburgh-based insurer Highmark. Operating losses totaled $51.8 million for the year that ended June 30. The deal with Highmark, which has already invested $150 million in Pittsburgh-based West Penn Allegheny, is under review by the Pennsylvania Department of Insurance. Renovation of West Penn Hospital would reverse the recent closure of its emergency room. The cost of the project is not yet available, but the first of three phases is projected to cost $18 million, a system spokesman said. Plans call for an observation unit to be added to the 24-bed emergency room and would convert the hospital's semiprivate rooms to private rooms, said Dan Laurent, West Penn Allegheny spokesman. Renovations will include the hospital's medical and surgical units and the hospital's neonatal intensive-care unit. Once renovation is complete, the hospital payroll is expected to add 200 jobs, Dr. Keith Ghezzi, interim president and CEO of the system, told reporters after announcing plans to employees.
MONTPELIER, Vt.—The Vermont Medical Society reconvened its Physician Policy Council in response to the formation of the Green Mountain Care Board, a five-member panel that will be responsible for implementing the state's single-payer healthcare plan. The board's responsibilities include setting rates for healthcare professionals and provider bargaining groups, according to the resolution, which was adopted Oct. 29. The Vermont Medical Society Physician Policy Council was approved by the state in 1994 as a physician bargaining group. According to the resolution, the council will identify physician concerns and negotiate with the Green Mountain Care Board and other state government entities on issues related to physician payment rates and payment methodologies as well as provider regulation and quality. The Physician Policy Council will also address workforce shortages, administrative simplification, educational debt and liability reform. Although the council was originally created to negotiate with the state on issues relating to a universal healthcare system, it has worked on other issues, including the development of the Vermont Health Plan as well as reimbursement under the state Medicaid program, according to the Vermont Medical Society. Green Mountain Care, which is on track to become a statewide publicly funded single-payer system, was established by law in May.
FARMINGTON, Conn.—Three Connecticut physician groups have teamed up to share patient data, improve care quality and explore new payment models. The groups— ProHealth Physicians, Farmington; Connecticut Multispecialty Group, Rocky Hill; and Women's Health Connecticut, Avon—include more than 450 physicians and 500,000 patients, according to a jointly issued news release. The organization will be structured as an independent practice association and will serve as “a vehicle through which its members will attempt to reach new contracting and payment arrangements with health plans, employers and others, including shared savings plans and accountable care organizations,” the groups said in the release. The as-yet unnamed IPA is expected to bind members to “technology improvements, data sharing, care management systems and medical quality standards.” The goal, according to the member organizations, is to have the IPA up and running within a year to allow time for contracting, technology selection and negotiations with health plans.
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