Contracting News

UHS (University Health Systems) changes name again
University Health Systems of Eastern Carolina (Greenville, N.C.), which recently changed its name to University Health Systems, or UHS, will change its name to Vidant Health effective January 25, 2012. At that time, Pitt County Memorial Hospital (Greenville, N.C.) will be referred to as Pitt Memorial Building. The name change will enable the health system to trademark the name. An earlier decision to shorten University Health Systems of Eastern Carolina simply to UHS was scrapped when a Pennsylvania health system protested due to a trademark conflict. The name change will be accompanied by a new logo with a stylized capital V and will use the same blue and white colors currently in use. Other hospitals in the system also will incorporate Vidant in their name, with the exception of Outer Banks Hospital (Nags Head, N.C.) and Albemarle Hospital (Elizabeth City, N.C.).

CMS loses leader, appoints Tavenner as replacement
CMS (Baltimore, Md.) administrator Don Berwick stepped down, effective December 2, 2011. The White House intended to appoint Marilyn Tavenner, currently second-in-command at CMS, as Berwick’s replacement. Republicans regularly attacked Berwick’s admiration for Britain’s National Health Service as an “example” for the U.S., and would have blocked his next confirmation, which was due to take place at the end of 2011.

MedCath sells Harlingen Medical Center to Prime Healthcare Services
MedCath Corp (Charlotte, N.C.) completed its previously announced sale of its 34.83 percent ownership interest in Harlingen Medical Center (Harlingen, Texas) and HMC Realty LLC to Prime Healthcare Services Inc (Ontario, Calif.) on November 30, 2011. MedCath retained Navigant Capital Advisors to assist with the transaction. Harlingen Medical Center is a 112 licensed bed general acute care hospital and HMC Realty LLC is a single-purpose entity that owns the real estate and building in which Harlingen Medical Center is located and leases the property and improvements to the hospital. MedCath estimates that the proceeds from the sale will result in a tax gain on the transaction of approximately $20.4 million, providing MedCath with $0.3 million net after tax proceeds from the transaction.

CHW signs $4.3M deal with AirStrip Technologies for iPhone telemonitoring app
Catholic Healthcare West (CHW) (San Francisco, Calif.) signed a three-year, $4.3 million deal with AirStrip Technologies (San Antonio, Texas) for its mHealth AirStrip OB system, which will be implemented in CHW’s three hospitals. The iPhone app will connect CHW physicians to patients in labor and allow them to see up to four hours of data.

Aetna enters accountable care collaboration with Banner Health, introduces Aetna Whole Health
Aetna Inc (Hartford, Conn.) announced an accountable care collaboration with Banner Health (Phoenix, Ariz.), as well as the introduction of a new commercial healthcare product, Aetna Whole Health, that will offer access to highly coordinated care in the Banner Health network of facilities and physicians. The Banner Health network is comprised of Banner-employed and affiliated physicians and hospitals in Arizona, and is a new accountable care organization (ACO) focused on improving patient care outcomes through better coordination and access to patient information. The network is also a fully integrated delivery system that is able to connect patients and network providers via an enhanced electronic medical records (EMR) system in real-time. Aetna Whole Health members within the network will reap the following benefits: pay less out of pocket; receive a more coordinated approach to managing their chronic conditions; and have access to Aetna’s online tools. The new product will be made available to Maricopa County and some Pinal County employers in late Nov. 2011. The accountable care collaboration will involve the implementation of a risk-sharing agreement that compensates and rewards Banner Health based on achieving certain quality, efficiency and patient satisfaction measures.

AMGA launches next phase of Accountable Care Collaboratives
American Medical Group Association (AMGA) (Alexandria, Va.) announced the launch of Phase II of its Accountable Care Collaborative: Transforming to a Value-Based System of Care for medical groups. This phase of the shared learning program focuses on the fundamental organizational, systems, and culture changes necessary for successful transformation to a value-based system of care, regardless of the path chosen-CMS’ Shared Savings Program, the Pioneer ACO Program, commercial ACOs, or other models yet to emerge. In 2011, AMGA launched two collaboratives focused on practical steps toward creating Accountable Care Organizations: a Development Collaborative and an Implementation Collaborative. The new collaborative will build on their work and provide resources for continuing development. The deadline to register for Phase II is January 31, 2012. Additional information is available at www.amga.org/Research/Research/ACO/phase2_aco.asp.

Henry Medical Center joins Piedmont Healthcare
Henry Medical Center (Stockbridge, Ga.) was renamed Piedmont Henry Hospital after joining Piedmont Healthcare (Atlanta, GA) on Jan. 1, 2012. The affiliation was approved by the board of directors of Henry Medical Center and Piedmont Healthcare and the Hospital Authority of Henry County (Stockbridge, Ga.) in August 2011. And the Georgia Attorney General’s Office signed off on the partnership in November.

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