SOUTH

Modern Healthcare - - Regional News -

CULL­MAN AND TUSCALOOSA, ALA.— Hos­pi­tals across the South scram­bled to main­tain op­er­a­tions and treat pa­tients af­ter a se­ries of pow­er­ful storms last week left hun­dreds dead and the re­gion heav­ily dam­aged. While 115-bed Cull­man Re­gional Med­i­cal Cen­ter did not suf­fer any di­rect dam­age, the hos­pi­tal was in a hard-hit area and treated 99 pa­tients in its emer­gency depart­ment dur­ing the storms, said Jim Wei­d­ner, the hos­pi­tal’s pres­i­dent and CEO. Cull­man Re­gional Med­i­cal Cen­ter of­fi­cials ac­ti­vated the hos­pi­tal’s emer­gency pre­pared­ness sys­tem at 3 p.m. April 27. “Be­cause of that, we were well-pre­pared and we were able to han­dle the on­slaught of pa­tients,” Wei­d­ner said. DCH Re­gional Med­i­cal Cen­ter in Tuscaloosa treated about 600 pa­tients in the hours since a milewide tor­nado cut through the area, Brad Fisher, a hos­pi­tal spokesman, told news af­fil­i­ate WLBT. The 486-bed hos­pi­tal suf­fered dam­age such as bro­ken win­dows and was with­out wa­ter for six hours. Power was re­stored early April 28, Fisher said. The hos­pi­tal had ad­mit­ted nearly 100 peo­ple, and five were re­ported dead as of the morn­ing of April 28, Fisher told WLBT. Ac­cord­ing to fig­ures from the Alabama Hos­pi­tal As­so­ci­a­tion, ap­prox­i­mately 1,500 peo­ple af­fected by the storms had re­ceived treat­ment at hos­pi­tals as of 10:30 a.m. April 28. Of those, 266 were ad­mit­ted and 13 deaths were ob­served. “At this time, there are no re­ports of struc­tural dam­age to hos­pi­tals that would af­fect their op­er­a­tions in treat­ing pa­tients, al­though sev­eral lost power tem­po­rar­ily, with a few still op­er­at­ing on gen­er­a­tor power,” the as­so­ci­a­tion said in a state­ment.

BATESVILLE, Miss.— Health Man­age­ment As­so­ciates, Naples, Fla., has signed a de­fin­i­tive agree­ment to form a joint ven­ture with the physi­cian own­ers of 110-bed TriLakes Med­i­cal Cen­ter, ac­cord­ing to an HMA news re­lease. HMA will take a 95% in­ter­est in the joint ven­ture and man­age its op­er­a­tions. No fi­nan­cial terms were dis­closed. HMA ex­pects the deal to close June 1, ac­cord­ing to the re­lease. HMA will bring its ex­pe­ri­ence op­er­at­ing non-ur­ban hos­pi­tals and whole-hos­pi­tal joint ven­tures; its pres­ence in Mis­sis­sippi, where it op­er­ates 10 hos­pi­tals; and its fi­nan­cial re­sources to Tri-Lakes, ac­cord­ing to a state­ment at­trib­uted to Gary New­some, pres­i­dent and CEO of HMA. Upon com­ple­tion of the deal, HMA will op­er­ate 60 hos­pi­tals.

STOCK­BRIDGE, Ga.— Henry Med­i­cal Cen­ter has an­nounced plans to part­ner with Atlanta-based Pied­mont Health­Care. Ac­cord­ing to the terms of the long-term lease agree­ment, the Hos­pi­tal Au­thor­ity of Henry County will re­tain own­er­ship of Henry Med­i­cal Cen­ter, which will be­come a sub­sidiary of Pied­mont. The an­nounce­ment fol­lows an ear­lier failed part­ner­ship ef­fort in­volv­ing Pied­mont and St. Joseph’s Health Sys­tem, Atlanta. In Au­gust 2010, Pied­mont and St. Joseph’s for­mally ended talks af­ter try­ing to form a joint op­er­at­ing com­pany. In a news re­lease, Char­lie Scott, Henry Med­i­cal Cen­ter’s pres­i­dent and CEO, said the hos­pi­tal’s rea­sons for choos­ing Pied­mont in­cluded its fi­nan­cial stand­ing, its record of qual­ity im­prove­ment and its com­mu­nity-hos­pi­tal fo­cus. Pied­mont and Henry Med­i­cal Cen­ter will soon start for­mal ne­go­ti­a­tions to de­velop a de­fin­i­tive af­fil­i­a­tion agree­ment, which must then be ap­proved by Ge­or­gia’s at­tor­ney gen­eral’s of­fice. That process is ex­pected to take sev­eral months.

COLUMBIA, S.C.— Prov­i­dence Hos­pi­tal, Columbia, S.C., is lay­ing off 35 em­ploy­ees as part of a $7.9 mil­lion cost­cut­ting plan, ac­cord­ing to a spokesman. All of the po­si­tions are full time and the lay­offs will save $2.8 mil­lion an­nu­ally, said John Kessler, vice pres­i­dent of mar­ket­ing and busi­ness de­vel­op­ment. Prov­i­dence also is elim­i­nat­ing week­end dif­fer­en­tial pay and a sys­tem that pays work­ers for 36 hours for ev­ery 24 hours that they work, changes that will save an ad­di­tional $1.2 mil­lion, Kessler said. The re­main­der of the sav­ings will come from ne­go­ti­at­ing bet­ter terms for sup­plies and re­duc­ing mar­ket­ing, legal and other vari­able costs, Kessler said. Prov­i­dence is cut­ting costs in an­tic­i­pa­tion of cuts to Medi­care and Med­i­caid based on its read­ing of pol­i­tics in Wash­ing­ton and Columbia, the state cap­i­tal, Kessler said. Prov­i­dence recorded op­er­at­ing in­come of $5.7 mil­lion in 2010 on net pa­tient ser­vice rev­enue of $291.9 mil­lion, ac­cord­ing to Kessler. The 316-bed Prov­i­dence Hos­pi­tal in­cludes two cam­puses and is part of Sis­ters of Char­ity Health Sys­tems, Cleve­land.

AP PHOTO

DCH Re­gional Med­i­cal Cen­ter treated about 600 pa­tients af­ter a milewide tor­nado hit Tuscaloosa.

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