Modern Healthcare - - REGIONAL NEWS -

CH­ESTER­FIELD, MO.— Mercy has signed a let­ter of in­tent to make Jef­fer­son Re­gional Med­i­cal Cen­ter, Crys­tal City, Mo., part of the Mercy health sys­tem. The deal could be com­pleted in four to six months, of­fi­cials said. Fi­nan­cial de­tails of the trans­ac­tion—not specif­i­cally re­ferred to as an ac­qui­si­tion in a news re­lease— were not dis­closed. The pro­posal’s terms in­clude a Mercy in­vest­ment in Jef­fer­son for the pur­pose of up­grad­ing the 196-bed hospi­tal, ex­pand­ing fa­cil­i­ties and en­hanc­ing pro­grams. Jef­fer­son in­terim CEO Jeff Buck said the hospi­tal had re­viewed many pro­pos­als and of­fers since May. “The board of Jef­fer­son Re­gional sees a part­ner­ship with Mercy as a nat­u­ral pro­gres­sion of their com­mit­ment to qual­ity, com­mu­ni­ty­based care, hon­or­ing the in­ten­tions of community lead­ers who founded the hospi­tal in 1957,” Buck said in the re­lease. Mercy of­fi­cials added that Jef­fer­son’s staff shares Mercy’s cul­ture and prin­ci­ples and that this made the hospi­tal at­trac­tive to in­vestors.

OAK BROOK, ILL.— Ad­vo­cate Health Care is mov­ing ahead with a pair of hospi­tal projects to­tal­ing $455 mil­lion in Chicago and in south subur­ban Oak Lawn as the hospi­tal net­work looks to tap record-low in­ter­est rates. In Oak Lawn, Ad­vo­cate pro­poses a nine-story pa­tient tower and 1,000-car garage on the cam­pus of Ad­vo­cate Christ Med­i­cal Cen­ter. Mean­while, on Chicago’s North Side, the not-for-profit health­care sys­tem with $4.4 bil­lion in rev­enue is plan­ning a three-story Cen­ter for Ad­vanced Care at Illi­nois Ma­sonic Med­i­cal Cen­ter. The roughly 140,000-square-foot build­ing would treat out­pa­tients with di­ges­tive dis­eases and can­cer, among other ill­nesses. Ad­vo­cate’s plans are out­lined in a pair of ap­pli­ca­tions filed with the Illi­nois Health Fa­cil­i­ties and Ser­vices Re­view Board, which reg­u­lates med­i­cal con­struc­tion to avoid du­pli­ca­tion of ser­vices. Both projects would be fi­nanced with debt ac­count­ing for about 61% of the projects’ com­bined costs. The re­main­ing tabs would be paid with cash and se­cu­ri­ties.

—Crain’s Chicago Busi­ness

SPRING­FIELD, ILL.— Illi­nois is look­ing for a com­pany to build its health in­sur­ance ex­change even though it likely won’t op­er­ate in­de­pen­dently of the fed­eral gov­ern­ment un­til 2015. The Illi­nois Depart­ment of In­sur­ance has asked for pro­pos­als from ven­dors to set up, op­er­ate and main­tain the com­puter in­fra­struc­ture for the in­sur­ance ex­change. The sys­tem must meet fed­eral re­quire­ments and in­te­grate “seam­lessly” with the state’s Med­i­caid sys­tem; bids are due Aug. 30. The depart­ment also is search­ing for three in­for­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy pro­fes­sion­als to help with the ex­change who will re­port to the in­sur­ance depart­ment’s IT project man­ager. The Pa­tient Pro­tec­tion and Af­ford­able Care Act man­dates that states de­velop ex­changes where con­sumers and small busi­nesses can buy health in­sur­ance from pri­vate car­ri­ers, among oth­ers. The state-level ex­changes are in­tended to sat­isfy two key re­quire­ments of the fed­eral law. They would be mar­kets where in­di­vid­u­als and small em­ploy­ers could sat­isfy the man­date to buy in­sur­ance, but the law would also guar­an­tee that in­sur­ance com­pa­nies would sell poli­cies to most peo­ple who ap­ply. Be­cause the Illi­nois Gen­eral Assem­bly has not passed leg­is­la­tion to es­tab­lish an ex­change and Gov. Patrick Quinn has not es­tab­lished an out­line for one through ex­ec­u­tive or­der, Illi­nois’ ex­change will be run jointly by the state and fed­eral gov­ern­ments start­ing Jan. 1, 2014. About 337,000 peo­ple are expected to buy health in­sur­ance through the ex­change in 2014, ac­cord­ing to doc­u­ments from the Illi­nois Depart­ment of Pro­cure­ment. That num­ber is pro­jected to climb to 489,000 in 2015. By set­ting up a jointly run ex­change, the state is do­ing “a two-step dance,” pre­par­ing for its even­tual tran­si­tion to a state-run ex­change Jan. 1, 2015, said Jim Duf­fett, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the Cam­paign for Bet­ter Health Care in Cham­paign. “They’re do­ing it to get the ball rolling,” he said. The fed­eral gov­ern­ment has given $39 mil­lion to start the ex­change, said a state spokesman, with an­other $90 mil­lion pos­si­ble. Most of the ini­tial pay­ment will go to­ward de­vel­op­ing the ex­change’s com­puter in­fra­struc­ture. But if the Leg­is­la­ture fails to pass a bill es­tab­lish­ing the ex­change by spring, the in­sur­ance depart­ment is un­likely to ex­tend the fed­eral-state part­ner­ship on the ex­change an­other year, said Laura Minzer, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the Illi­nois Cham­ber of Com­merce’s Health­care Coun­cil. “They will sim­ply say to the fed­eral gov­ern­ment, ‘Come in,’ ” she said.

—Crain’s Chicago Busi­ness

Jef­fer­son Re­gional, above, plans to be­come part of Mercy’s health sys­tem in four to six months.

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