Modern Healthcare - - Regional News -


The Vet­er­ans Af­fairs Depart­ment has awarded two con­tracts to­tal­ing $41.5 mil­lion to cre­ate a poly­trauma cen­ter for the care of se­verely in­jured vet­er­ans and to im­prove ex­ist­ing wards at the Audie L. Mur­phy VA Med­i­cal Cen­ter in San An­to­nio. One award for $37.2 mil­lion will be used for the construction of a three-story, 84,000-square foot poly­trauma cen­ter that will in­clude phys­i­cal medicine, re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion ser­vices, pros­thet­ics ser­vice and re­search. The term “poly­trauma” refers to health­care for vet­er­ans who have more than one se­vere, life-threat­en­ing med­i­cal prob­lem. Th­ese pa­tients are usu­ally re­cent com­bat vet­er­ans who were in­jured by road­side bombs and other ex­plo­sives in Iraq and Afghanistan, the VA said. The sec­ond con­tract, for $4.3 mil­lion, will pro­vide for up­grades and ex­pan­sion to ward 4-A of the med­i­cal cen­ter.


Six-hospi­tal Jewish Hospi­tal & St. Mary’s Health­Care said it is elim­i­nat­ing 500 full-time-equiv­a­lent po­si­tions out of a work­force of 8,100 full-time equiv­a­lents, a 6% re­duc­tion that in­cludes 250 lay­offs. The sys­tem’s hos­pi­tals and other fa­cil­i­ties have ex­pe­ri­enced a vol­ume de­cline of 3% to 7% since the start of the year, de­pend­ing on the vol­ume mea­sure used, said Jan­ice James, the sys­tem’s tran­si­tion CEO and a manag­ing di­rec­tor at Well­spring Part­ners, which is part of Huron Con­sult­ing Group. The de­clines are across the board and ap­pear to be re­lated to the weak econ­omy rather than a loss of mar­ket share, James said. “Physi­cians that I’m talk­ing to say their of­fice ac­tiv­ity is down, too,” she said. “It’s not iso­lated to us.” The sys­tem im­ple­mented $55 mil­lion in other cost re­duc­tions in 2009 by chang­ing sup­plier as­sign­ments, re­vamp­ing ben­e­fits and mak­ing process im­prove­ments, said James, who is lead­ing the sys­tem while it searches for a re­place­ment for Bob Shircliff, who an­nounced his re­tire­ment last year. The sys­tem posted an op­er­at­ing loss of $6.6 mil­lion in 2009 com­pared with a $2 mil­lion op­er­at­ing gain in 2008, on op­er­at­ing rev­enue of $1.01 bil­lion, up 5% from 2008, ac­cord­ing to its unau­dited 2009 fi­nan­cial state­ment. Over­all, thanks to a re­bound in its in­vest­ment earn­ings from a $70.6 mil­lion loss in 2008 to a $15 mil­lion gain in 2009, the sys­tem recorded net in­come of nearly $8 mil­lion com­pared with a loss of $78.7 mil­lion in 2008, ac­cord­ing to the fi­nan­cial state­ment. The cost of un­com­pen­sated care, in­clud­ing both char­ity care and bad-debt ex­pense, in­creased from $52 mil­lion in 2008 to $68 mil­lion in 2009, ac­cord­ing to the sys­tem’s lay­off an­nounce­ment.


One po­ten­tial op­po­nent of plans to build a hospi­tal in Olive Branch has with­drawn its let­ter against the pro­posed project. In Novem­ber 2009, 40-bed Al­liance Health­Care Sys­tem, Holly Springs, Miss., sub­mit­ted a let­ter op­pos­ing a 100-bed hospi­tal in Olive Branch pro­posed by three-hospi­tal Methodist Le Bon­heur Health­care, Mem­phis, Tenn. Al­liance’s con­cerns with the project have been al­le­vi­ated, so it is


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