University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, in a push to expand urgent-care access, opened its latest clinic in Robinson. The 4,000-square-foot urgent-care clinic, which the 12-hospital system leased, is UPMC’s second and further expansion is expected, Robert Maha, president and chief medical officer of Emergency Resource Management, a subsidiary of UMPC, and among the managers who oversee its patientaccess strategy, said in written a statement. “We plan for numbers additional urgent-care centers in the region” as part of a broader strategy to expand access, he said. “Our strategy includes urgent-care centers, extended office hours during evenings and weekends at our physician offices, electronic office visits (e-visits), and telemedicine. We believe it is important to increase convenient access for our patients, especially with healthcare reform.” UPMC opened its first urgent-care clinic in Bloomfield, Pa., in December.
A Pennsylvania state court ruled last month that the state Legislature improperly transferred $808 million from a medical liability fund and used it to help pay other expenses and now must put the money back. It was a 4-1 decision, and Dan Pellegrini, the dissenting judge, called it a “personal windfall to doctors, with the consequential effect of making 2009-2010 budget out of balance,” and said the majority opinion gets the judiciary involved in the budget process, which the state constitution defines as being the role of the governor and the Legislature. The case was argued Feb. 10 with the Pennsylvania Medical Society, the Hospital & Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania, Geisinger Health System and other providers arguing against the transfer of $708 million from the Health Care Provider Retention Account, which helped offset medical malpractice costs, and $100 from Mcare, the state’s medical liability fund that is maintained by hospital and physician premiums. In the ruling, it was noted that the funds are generated by the petitioners’ assessments and fees and not by taxes, so the money belongs “to the providers and not generally to the Commonwealth.” “The Commonwealth’s concern that a decision in this case in Petitioners’ favor may imperil the budget process is, therefore, without merit,” the majority concluded.
Two former administrators of New York-Presbyterian Hospital are named in a federal indictment alleging conspiracies to rig bids for work performed at the hospital’s facilities. Santo Saglimbeni, former vice president of Facilities Operations, took cash kickbacks to steer contracts for airmonitoring, asbestos abatement and construction to companies owned by Michael Yaron and Moshe Buchnik, according to an indictment returned by a grand jury in U.S. District Court in New York. The indictment notes that New York-Presbyterian was unaware of the kickbacks, which were funneled through a shell company Saglimbeni allegedly created in the name of a family member.