HARLINGEN, Texas—There is not much left to Charlotte, N.C.-based MedCath Corp., which is down to its last hospital after selling its ownership stake in 88-bed Harlingen (Texas) Medical Center and HMC Realty to Prime Healthcare Services of Ontario, Calif.
Regional News/South: MedCath down to one hospital after sale, and other news
MedCath has had 12 such deals since March 2010; and the only remaining hospital listed on its website is 47-bed Bakersfield (Calif.) Heart Hospital. According to a MedCath news release, MedCath had a 34.83% stake in Harlingen Medical Center and 36.06% share of the realty business. The combined value of these interests, according to the release, is $9 million. Prime is considered Harlingen's “managing partner,” and with the acquisition, which closed Nov. 30, the hospital becomes the 13th in the Prime system and its first facility outside of California. A separate entity, Prime Healthcare Services Foundation, owns two not-for-profit hospitals. On Sept. 22, MedCath shareholders voted to dissolve the company and it is moving quickly to do so. On Sept. 30, it closed on a deal to sell two of its remaining hospitals. On Aug. 1, it announced the completed sale of two others.
TALLAHASSEE, Fla.— Florida Gov. Rick Scott recommended cutting the state's Medicaid budget by $2.1 billion. Most of that savings, part of a $66.4 billion budget proposal, would come from changing the way hospitals are paid for treating Medicaid patients. “No program has grown as fast and as much as Medicaid, and we must find a way to control the cost,” Scott said in a news release. Scott, once chairman and CEO of hospital chain Columbia/HCA Healthcare Corp., described the proposed changes to Medicaid reimbursement as “paying similar rates for the same procedures in similar hospitals.” Bruce Rueben, president of the Florida Hospital Association, said the organization had not had time to analyze the payment methodology. “But the size of the cuts in the governor's proposal make it an unsustainable approach to financing hospital services for Medicaid patients,” Rueben said. “The size of the cuts are so significant that you would lose services.” The state faces a nearly $2 billion budget shortfall for the coming year because economic growth is lagging behind predictions, combined with growing Medicaid costs and declining property tax revenue for schools, according to the Associated Press. Scott's proposal is the beginning of the legislative process for crafting a budget for the 12 months that begin July 1, 2012. “I take comfort in the fact it's the legislature that will ultimately decide how the state balances its budget,” Rueben said.
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