SYRACUSE, N.Y.— Upstate University Hospital closed on its acquisition of Community General Hospital, which now will operate as a second campus of Upstate. The deal was structured as an asset-liability swap and no money exchanged hands, said Dr. John McCabe, CEO of 396-bed Upstate University Hospital and senior vice president of hospital affairs for Upstate Medical University. Tom Quinn, president and CEO of 192-bed Community General, is retiring and will work on special projects for Upstate, McCabe said. Meredith Price, who was chief operating officer for Upstate’s College of Medicine, was named chief administrative officer of Community General, which is now called Upstate University Hospital at Community General. The combined operation will have about 630 staffed beds, McCabe said.
BEVERLY, Mass.— Northeast Health System and the Lahey Clinic, Burlington, Mass., plan to form a new integrated delivery system in northeastern Massachusetts called the Lahey Health System. There is no financial transaction involved in the merger, said Ken Hanover, president and CEO of Northeast Health System. Lahey Health System will be led by a board with an equal number of members from the two organizations as well as members who are currently not affiliated with either organization. “There were lots of opportunities for the two organizations to better serve our respective communities by coming together,” Hanover said. Northeast Health and Lahey have already shared clinical affiliations for several years. The Lahey Clinic, which owns a 327-bed teaching hospital affiliated with the Tufts University School of Medicine, reported $90 million in revenue in 2010, according to Hanover. Northeast Health System, a network primarily composed of 321-bed Beverly Hospital (which includes Addison Gilbert Hospital in Gloucester, Mass.), had $46 million in revenue last year. The new board will have full governance and financial authority over the system, Hanover said. Dr. Howard Grant, president and CEO of the Lahey Health System, will retain his role as president and CEO of the Lahey Clinic. The two organizations will develop a definitive agreement in the next 90 days, and state and national regulatory approvals are expected by the end of the year.
MONTPELIER, Vt.— Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin named Mark Larson, a lawmaker in the Vermont House of Representatives, as the new commissioner of the Department of Vermont Health Access. Larson, 41, will replace Susan Besio, who has retired, according to a spokesperson for Shumlin. In his new role, Larson will oversee the state’s publicly funded health insurance programs and also will be involved with the development of the Vermont Health Benefits Exchange and Green Mountain Care, the publicly funded singlepayer system that was signed into law this year. Larson joined the Vermont House of Representatives in 2000 and served as chair of the House Health Care Committee, vice chairman of the House Appropriations Committee and co-chair of the Vermont Commission on Health Care Reform. He is expected to start Aug. 17.
PITTSBURGH— Highmark, the Pittsburgh-based insurer with plans to acquire a struggling health system, went to court to stop advertising by the city’s larger, stronger hospital operator. Highmark asked the U.S. District Court in Pittsburgh to halt the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center’s “Keep Your Doctor. Check Your Plan” ad campaign, which the complaint alleges violates federal law and contracts negotiated between Highmark and UPMC. The lawsuit contends UPMC launched the campaign to punish Highmark for its $475 million deal to acquire faltering West Penn Allegheny Health System (July 4, p. 6), and that the campaign falsely suggests Highmark members would pay more and face new access hurdles at UPMC once contracts expire on June 30, 2012. Contract clauses, known as runoffs, require UPMC to honor negotiated rates for the terminated contracts for another year, Highmark said. UPMC spokesman Paul Wood responded in an e-mail that the lawsuit “while meritless, drives home the point that its current contracts with UPMC will expire on June 30, 2012, and that there will not be a new contract.” Wood added that UPMC “strongly disagrees” with Highmark’s interpretation of the runoff provisions and “looks forward to presenting the court and the public with the actual contract language.”
McCabe, shown at a news conference announcing the closing of the deal, says the deal was structured as an asset-liability swap and no money exchanged hands.