ASHLAND, Ore.—Dignity Health appears to be making good with its plans to expand since changing its name from Catholic Healthcare West, as officials announced that the organization is in exclusive partnership negotiations with Ashland Community Hospital. The talks in Oregon are Dignity's first move toward expansion since the system rebranded itself and severed formal ties with the Roman Catholic Church in an effort to increase expansion opportunities beyond its three-state footprint of Arizona, California and Nevada. Ashland Community is a 36-bed secular hospital, and the affiliation would give Dignity its first hospital in that state. After January's announcement, San Francisco-based Dignity counted 38 hospitals, with 23 Catholic and 15 non-Catholic. Ashland picked Dignity from four suitors, hospital CEO Mark Marchetti said in a news release, and the parties expect to complete a deal within 90 days. “Dignity Health can provide the needed support of a large healthcare system while maintaining Ashland Community Hospital's identity and maximizing local control,” Marchetti said in the release. “This partnership will also maintain and enhance our ability to continue to work collaboratively with both local healthcare systems in the Rogue Valley.”
Regional News/West: Dignity Health moves forward with plans to expand, and other news
CHEYENNE, Wyo.—Wyoming's largest hospitals are moving toward a partnership. The boards of 206-bed Cheyenne Regional Medical Center and 192-bed Wyoming Medical Center, Casper, agreed last week to investigate developing a not-for-profit partnership called the “Wyoming Solution.” “Today, we've taken a first step in a deliberate but very important process,” Wyoming Medical Center Board Chair Linda Young said in a news release. “Our physicians and other healthcare colleagues will be part of this discussion as we move ahead.” A Cheyenne Regional spokeswoman said they would like an agreement by the end of the summer. The hospitals have been negotiating for more than a year and have been focused on the patient-centered medical home model. Both were among about 20 hospitals that joined last year to establish the Wyoming Integrated Care Network.
PHOENIX—Phoenix Cardiac Surgery, of Phoenix and Prescott, Ariz., agreed to pay HHS $100,000 and take corrective actions to protect patient information after an investigation by HHS' Office for Civil Rights, which has privacy and security rule enforcement duties under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996. The investigation was triggered by a complaint that the practice “was posting clinical and surgical appointments for its patients on an Internet-based calendar that was publicly accessible,” according to an HHS news release. The civil rights office's investigation also found that the practice “had implemented few policies and procedures to comply with the HIPAA privacy and security rules and had limited safeguards in place to protect patients' electronic protected health information.” Those absent safeguards included failures to document that it had properly trained employees on HIPAA privacy and safety requirements, identify a security official for the practice, conduct a security risk analysis and obtain a business-associates agreement with the firm supplying the online appointment calendar, the release stated. “We hope that healthcare providers pay careful attention to this resolution agreement and understand that the HIPAA privacy and security rules have been in place for many years, and OCR expects full compliance no matter the size of a covered entity,” OCR Director Leon Rodriguez said in the statement. Phoenix Cardiac Surgery did not respond to requests for comment.
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