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Leg­is­la­tion backed by Mas­sachusetts’ gov­er­nor would cre­ate reg­u­la­tion for ac­count­able care or­ga­ni­za­tions and es­tab­lish a health in­for­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy coun­cil. The bill calls for the cre­ation of ac­count­able care groups, which could pay bonuses or fine providers based on qual­ity per­for­mance, across Mas­sachusetts by 2015. Un­der the leg­is­la­tion, Mas­sachusetts would in­tro­duce cri­te­ria for ACOs no later than June 1, 2012. The law also calls for reg­u­la­tions to ex­pand use of al­ter­na­tives to fee-for-ser­vice pay­ments statewide by June 2015. Other pro­vi­sions would cre­ate an 18-mem­ber health IT coun­cil to give rec­om­men­da­tions on the state’s adop­tion of in­for­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy and set cri­te­ria un­der which the Mas­sachusetts in­surance com­mis­sioner may re­ject pre­mium rate in­creases for small busi­nesses. Ac­cord­ing to the gov­er­nor’s of­fice, the pre­mium hikes will be mea­sured against fac­tors such as the state’s eco­nomic growth; the in­crease in to­tal med­i­cal ex­penses; providers’ re­im­burse­ment rates; and move­ment away from fee-forser­vice con­tracts.


Re­gional Care Hos­pi­tal Part­ners, Brent­wood, Tenn., has signed a letter of in­tent to ac­quire two-hos­pi­tal Land­mark Health Sys­tems, Woonsocket. The letter of in­tent sets a tar­get date of March 15 for ne­go­ti­at­ing an as­set pur­chase agree­ment that would be sub­mit­ted to Rhode Is­land State Su­pe­rior Court in Prov­i­dence, ac­cord­ing to a news re­lease. Land­mark sub­mit­ted to a spe­cial mas­ter un­der the state court’s direc­tion in June 2008 in or­der to re­or­ga­nize its fi­nances and op­er­a­tions while seek­ing a bid­der, ac­cord­ing to Bill Fis­cher, a spokesman for Land­mark. Other bid­ders have un­til March 25 to make an of­fer for the two hos­pi­tals—133-bed Land­mark Med­i­cal Cen­ter in Woonsocket and 70-bed Re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion Hos­pi­tal of Rhode Is­land in North Smith­field, Fis­cher said. The spe­cial mas­ter will present all bids and his own rec­om­men­da­tion to the court April 1, and an­other hear­ing to con­sider the bids is set for April 6, Fis­cher said. Terms were not dis­closed, but the letter of in­tent in­cludes a sig­nif­i­cant cap­i­tal com­mit­ment, in­clud­ing a mul­ti­mil­lion­dol­lar ex­pan­sion of Land­mark Med­i­cal Cen­ter’s emer­gency room, ac­cord­ing to the re­lease. Pri­vately held Re­gional Care was founded in 2009 and owns four hos­pi­tals in three states.


The New York City Health and Hos­pi­tals Corp. filed a law­suit against a data stor­age and trans­port ven­dor af­ter the De­cem­ber theft of elec­tronic files that con­tained per­sonal or health in­for­ma­tion for about 1.7 mil­lion pa­tients and hos­pi­tal or con­tract em­ploy­ees. The 14-hos­pi­tal sys­tem said the breach in­volved pa­tients, staff and ven­dors at Ja­cobi Med­i­cal Cen­ter and North Cen­tral Bronx Hos­pi­tal and two health cen­ters dur­ing a 20-year pe­riod. The city-owned sys­tem mailed let­ters to alert pa­tients to the theft and of­fered free credit mon­i­tor­ing and fraud res­o­lu­tion for one year. The sys­tem no­ti­fied three na­tion­wide con­sumer re­port­ing agen­cies of the theft, as well as New York’s at­tor­ney gen­eral, the state Of­fice of Cy­ber Se­cu­rity, the state Con­sumer Pro­tec­tion Board and HHS. The files were stolen af­ter a driver for GRM Man­age­ment In­for­ma­tion Ser­vices left the com­pany’s van un­locked, the sys­tem said. A spokes­woman for GRM did not re­spond to a re­quest for com­ment. The data stor­age com­pany dis­missed the driver and no­ti­fied po­lice. The sys­tem has can­celed the ven­dor’s con­tract and said the law­suit seeks to re­cover the costs of no­ti­fi­ca­tion and other re­lated dam­ages.


The Hos­pi­tal for Spe­cial Surgery is en­ter­ing the fi­nal phase of its $173 mil­lion con­struc­tion pro­ject. Ex­te­rior work is sched­uled to fin­ish in the com­ing weeks at the con­struc­tion site along the East River in Man­hat­tan, the hos­pi­tal said in a news re­lease. Once fin­ished, the pro­ject will add 62,000 square feet and three floors to the hos­pi­tal’s east wing. The ad­di­tional floors, which have been un­der con­struc­tion for roughly 14 months, are sched­uled to open this fall. The 162-bed hos­pi­tal will ex­pand its out­pa­tient pe­di­atric re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion ser­vices and phar­macy depart­ment as part of the pro­ject. The hos­pi­tal is also ex­pected to add two in­pa­tient bed units once the new floors are com­plete. Bonds fi­nanced the ma­jor­ity of the over­all con­struc­tion pro­ject, which be­gan in 2005, the hos­pi­tal said. The $69 mil­lion east wing ex­pan­sion is the fi­nal phase.

A $69 mil­lion ex­pan­sion is the fi­nal phase of the Hos­pi­tal for Spe­cial Surgery’s $173 mil­lion pro­ject. The ex­pan­sion will add 62,000 square feet and three floors.

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