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Van­der­bilt Univer­sity Med­i­cal Cen­ter, Nashville, has forged an af­fil­i­a­tion agree­ment with Cookeville (Tenn.) Re­gional Med­i­cal Cen­ter that they say will ex­pand health­care ser­vices in the mid-state re­gion. Terms of the agree­ment were not dis­closed in a news re­lease. The deal rep­re­sents Van­der­bilt’s fourth re­gional af­fil­i­a­tion agree­ment, a Van­der­bilt spokesman said. The agree­ment al­lows the two med­i­cal cen­ters to col­lab­o­rate on de­vel­op­ing Joint Cen­ters of Ex­cel­lence, ed­u­ca­tional pro­grams, re­search projects and in­for­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy tools, ac­cord­ing to the re­lease. They also will work to­gether to ex­pand highly spe­cial­ized ser­vices such as trauma care, neu­rol­ogy, neuro-in­ter­ven­tion and neona­tol­ogy. Own­er­ship and man­age­ment of 217-bed Cookeville Re­gional will re­main the same. “Be­cause of uncer­tain­ties in to­day’s health­care en­vi­ron­ment, more and more in­de­pen­dent hos­pi­tals are ex­plor­ing op­tions to join with oth­ers,” Dr. Me­nachem Langer, Cookeville Re­gional’s CEO, said in the re­lease. “With health­care re­form, it is im­per­a­tive that we take steps to se­cure our po­si­tion so that we may continue our mis­sion to pro­vide high-qual­ity health­care now and into the fu­ture.” Cookeville Re­gional re­ceived ap­proval last month from the Cookeville city coun­cil to ac­quire Cum­ber­land River Hospi­tal in Celina, Tenn. Van­der­bilt pre­vi­ously reached af­fil­i­a­tion agree­ments in Ten­nessee with 206-bed Maury Re­gional Med­i­cal Cen­ter, Columbia; 72-bed NorthCrest Med­i­cal Cen­ter, Spring­field; and 185-bed Wil­liamson Med­i­cal Cen­ter, Franklin. HOUS­TON—

Dr. Jack L. Baker, a ra­di­ol­o­gist who owned an imag­ing cen­ter in the Hous­ton area, has agreed to pay $650,000 and be vol­un­tar­ily sus­pended from Medi­care and Med­i­caid for six years to set­tle al­le­ga­tions that he main­tained il­le­gal kick­back ar­range­ments that based com­pen­sa­tion on the vol­ume of re­fer­rals from nu­mer­ous physi­cians. Baker did not ad­mit wrong­do­ing as part of the set­tle­ment and could not be reached for com­ment. Pros­e­cu­tors in the U.S. at­tor­ney’s of­fice in Hous­ton ac­cused Baker, who owned and op­er­ated an imag­ing cen­ter, Fair­mont Di­ag­nos­tic Cen­ter and Open MRI, of per­form­ing imag­ing stud­ies for pa­tients of as many as 17 physi­cians who were com­pen­sated in ways that vi­o­lated fed­eral anti-fraud laws, ac­cord­ing to the set­tle­ment agree­ment. Baker sold the as­sets of the busi­ness to an­other physi­cian in June 2011, the set­tle­ment noted. Pros­e­cu­tors also al­leged that Baker pro­vided sham med­i­cal di­rec­tor­ship jobs to doc­tors and con­tracts to pay the physi­cians’ of­fice staff salaries that took into ac­count the value of the re­fer­rals that the doc­tors pro­vided to Baker’s imag­ing cen­ter. The case against Baker and Fair­mont Di­ag­nos­tic started in 2010 as a whis­tle-blower law­suit from Dr. Philip Blum and Dr. David Spinks—physi­cians who re­ferred pa­tients to imag­ing cen­ters such as Fair­mont. The doc­tors will share in 20% of the set­tle­ment, or $130,000. AR­LING­TON, Va.—

Chil­dren’s Na­tional Med­i­cal Cen­ter, Wash­ing­ton, has signed a three-year agree­ment to man­age the neona­tal in­ten­sive-care unit at Vir­ginia Hospi­tal Cen­ter, Ar­ling­ton. Staff from 283-bed Chil­dren’s Na­tional will man­age di­rect pa­tient care, med­i­cal records man­age­ment and com­pli­ance with pe­di­atric-care stan­dards, among other tasks, at Vir­ginia Hospi­tal’s NICU, ac­cord­ing to a news re­lease. Fi­nan­cial terms of the ar­range­ment were not dis­closed. Dr. Bil­lie Lou Short, division chief of neona­tol­ogy at Chil­dren’s Na­tional, will be the med­i­cal di­rec­tor of Vir­ginia Hospi­tal’s NICU. “The di­rec­tion and over­sight that Chil­dren’s Na­tional will pro­vide adds even greater depth to the out­stand­ing neona­tol­ogy pro­gram that the Ar­ling­ton Neona­tol­ogy Group es­tab­lished over 10 years ago,” Dr. Jef­frey DiL­isi, vice pres­i­dent and chief med­i­cal of­fi­cer at 342-bed Vir­ginia Hospi­tal, said in the re­lease. Ap­prox­i­mately 10% of in­fants born at Vir­ginia Hospi­tal re­quire NICU care.

An agree­ment be­tween Van­der­bilt and Cookeville al­lows the two cen­ters to col­lab­o­rate on re­search projects and ed­u­ca­tional pro­grams.

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