Sisters of Mercy Health System, Chesterfield, Mo., broke ground on an $88 million health facility designed to serve as a prototype for the 22-hospital system for its operations in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma, according to a news release from the system. The building, which was designed with community input, will include: a walkin clinic, a wellness center, an imaging/women’s center, a retail pharmacy, a childcare center for patient use, sports rehabilitation, a cafe, a lab and an outpatient surgery center. “We have listened to the Edmond community every step of the way, beginning with
The board of Health Central voted to move forward with a possible affiliation with Orlando Health. The vote was a step toward preparing a letter of intent in March, according to an explanation of the move posted on Health Central’s website. The negotiations determining the details of any final agreement is expected to take several months, the hospital said. Orlando Health, which owns three hospitals, has two affiliations that fall short of full ownership, spokeswoman Kena Lewis said. The system holds a 50% stake in South Lake Hospital in Seminole, Fla., and a 20% stake in St. Cloud (Fla.) Regional Medical Center, Lewis said. Health Central chose Orlando Health over three other suitors agreement by the end of summer. Broad terms of the partnership were not disclosed. The partnership will enable Valley Baptist to gain access to capital and to strengthen collaborations with physicians, according to the release. One possible move involving both of those reasons would be a buyout of Valley Baptist’s partner in 88-bed Harlingen (Texas) Medical Center—MedCath Corp., Charlotte, N.C. Investor-owned MedCath holds a 34.8% stake in the hospital, according to a securities filing. Vanguard bought MedCath’s 70.6% ownership interest in Arizona Heart Hospital, Phoenix, in October. MedCath is selling off its assets in order to liquidate the company. Valley Baptist signed a memorandum of understanding last year to merge with a neighboring tax-exempt hospital, Knapp Medical Center in Weslaco, Texas, in the hopes of improving its access to capital. The memorandum expired with no deal taking place. Valley Baptist includes a 480-bed hospital in Harlingen and a 280-bed hospital in Brownsville.
Gov. Rick Scott wants to kill a program that establishes a database to track often-abused prescription drugs in the state, saying the system— which has been stalled by unrelated litigation over bidding— would not penalize the rogue pain clinics that dot South Florida. Last year, the Florida Legislature approved a law to create the database of prescriptions using private funds and grants, but state officials now say the state will have to pay at least $500,000 a year to operate the program. Scott recommended in a Feb. 7 budget proposal that the Legislature not fund it, saying through a spokesman that the law would not affect the “pill mills” that operate illegally because they would not self-report questionable behaviors. Republican Senate President Mike Haridopolos says lawmakers still plan to implement funding, and that the governor’s budget proposals are only recommendations. Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi has said the state is the national epicenter of prescription diversion and abuse. A report from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement found that oxycodone use directly caused the deaths of 79 people in the state in 2009, and contributed to another 1,100 deaths.