NORTH­EAST

Modern Healthcare - - Regional News -

MIL­TON, Mass.—

Beth Is­rael Deaconess Med­i­cal Cen­ter, Bos­ton, plans to ac­quire 82-bed Mil­ton (Mass.) Hos­pi­tal, ac­cord­ing to a joint state­ment an­nounc­ing a mem­o­ran­dum of un­der­stand­ing. The terms of the ten­ta­tive agree­ment al­low Mil­ton to re­tain its board of direc­tors and day-to-day over­sight of op­er­a­tions and strate­gic plan­ning ef­forts dur­ing a 180-day due dili­gence pe­riod. The mem­o­ran­dum gives 621-bed Beth Is­rael Deaconess ap­proval rights over Mil­ton’s strate­gic, fi­nan­cial and op­er­a­tional plans. Beth Is­rael Deaconess also would make “sig­nif­i­cant” in­vest­ments to sup­port Mil­ton’s physi­cian net­work and clin­i­cal ca­pa­bil­i­ties, ac­cord­ing to the state­ment. Mil­ton’s board ap­proved the mem­o­ran­dum April 25, and Beth Is­rael Deaconess’ board ap­proved it in March. The hos­pi­tals have shared a clin­i­cal af­fil­i­a­tion since 2003.

LEBANON, Vt.—

Dart­mouth-Hitch­cock Med­i­cal Cen­ter agreed to pay $2.2 mil­lion to re­solve whis­tle-blower al­le­ga­tions that it over­billed fed­eral health­care pro­grams for anes­the­sia and ra­di­ol­ogy ser­vices be­tween 2001 and 2007. The med­i­cal cen­ter did not ad­mit li­a­bil­ity in the set­tle­ment with the U.S. at­tor­ney’s of­fice in Ver­mont, and hos­pi­tal spokesman Dave Evan­cich said the or­ga­ni­za­tion will not be sub­ject to a cor­po­rate in­tegrity agree­ment. “We have in place what a cor­po­rate in­tegrity agree­ment is de­signed to get you to. We were cred­ited with rapid im­prove­ment since this first came to light in 2007,” Evan­cich said. Evan­cich said an in­ter­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tion found that the hos­pi­tal could not dis­prove whis­tle-blower al­le­ga­tions that it al­lowed res­i­dents and fel­lows in the crit­i­cal-care depart­ment to ad­min­is­ter ser­vices with­out be­ing su­per­vised by a physi­cian as re­quired by Medi­care and Med­i­caid rules. The 369bed aca­demic med­i­cal cen­ter agreed to pay more than $2.1 mil­lion to the fed­eral gov­ern­ment, $80,000 to the state of Ver­mont and $61,000 to New Hamp­shire. For­mer Dart­mouth physi­cian Dr. Thomas Pren­der­gast, who filed the False Claims Act law­suit that started the in­ves­ti­ga­tion in 2007, will re­ceive $334,000 as part of the set­tle­ment, Evan­cich said.

MONT­PE­LIER, Vt.—

The Ver­mont Se­nate has passed a bill de­signed to put the state on a path to­ward a uni­ver­sal, sin­gle-payer health­care sys­tem. The bill gained fi­nal Se­nate ap­proval April 26 on a vote of 21-9 and now moves to a con­fer­ence com­mit­tee where lawmakers will try to work out dif­fer­ences be­tween the House and Se­nate ver­sions. Key dif­fer­ences in­clude the Se­nate’s in­ser­tion of a se­ries of thresh­olds that must be met be­fore the state can set up its pub­licly fi­nanced sys­tem, to be called Green Moun­tain Care (April 4, p. 16). Those thresh­olds in­clude mak­ing sure the new sys­tem will give Ver­mont a health­care cost growth rate lower than the na­tional rate. Gov. Peter Shum­lin said he is happy with pas­sage of the leg­is­la­tion and looks for­ward to sign­ing it.

The agree­ment calls for Beth Is­rael to make “sig­nif­i­cant in­vest­ments” to sup­port the clin­i­cal ca­pa­bil­i­ties and physi­cian net­work at Mil­ton, left.

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