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REN­TON, Wash.—

Prov­i­dence Health & Ser­vices will have an­other physi­cian as its pres­i­dent and CEO. Dr. Rod Hochman was pro­moted to lead the 26-hospi­tal Catholic health­care sys­tem. Hochman, 57, is one of two Prov­i­dence group pres­i­dents. He will suc­ceed Dr. John Koster start­ing July 1. In De­cem­ber, Koster, 62, an­nounced his plans to re­tire at the end of 2013 af­ter serv­ing as pres­i­dent and CEO since 2003. Hochman told Mod­ern Health­care that this month he spent a week in Mon­treal meet­ing the sys­tem’s founders, the Sis­ters of Prov­i­dence. “It’s an in­cred­i­ble or­ga­ni­za­tion,” Hochman said. “It’s over 150 years old and with great tra­di­tions.” Hochman’s med­i­cal back­ground is in rheuma­tol­ogy and in­ter­nal medicine. He served as pres­i­dent and CEO of Swedish Health Ser­vices un­til last year, when the four-hospi­tal Seat­tle-based sys­tem com­bined op­er­a­tions with Prov­i­dence. Prov­i­dence op­er­ates hos­pi­tals in Alaska, Cal­i­for­nia, Mon­tana, Ore­gon and Washington state. Hochman said Prov­i­dence will lis­ten to in­quiries if there’s a chance for ex­pan­sion, but the sys­tem won’t grow “just for growth’s sake.” Pop­u­la­tion health is a topic of in­ter­est for Hochman, who said Prov­i­dence will con­tinue to ex­plore new care-de­liv­ery models, in­clud­ing ac­count­able care or­ga­ni­za­tions. He lauded the sys­tem’s ex­ist­ing strate­gic plan, which em­pha­sizes col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween clin­i­cians and ad­min­is­tra­tors. “With 30 years of clin­i­cal and health­care ex­ec­u­tive lead­er­ship ex­pe­ri­ence, we are con­fi­dent that Dr. Hochman is the right leader to con­tinue our trans­for­ma­tional work in the de­liv­ery of health­care,” Mike Hol­comb, chair­man of the sys­tem’s board of direc­tors, said in a pre­pared state­ment. —

Ashok Selvam SAN FRAN­CISCO—

The odds are against the Cal­i­for­nia hospi­tal and med­i­cal as­so­ci­a­tions as they seek to stop a 10% Med­i­caid pay cut from tak­ing ef­fect. A three-judge panel from the 9th U.S. Cir­cuit Court of Ap­peals lifted an in­junc­tion against the pay cuts called for by Med­i­Cal, the state’s Med­i­caid pro­gram, on Dec. 13. So, on Jan. 28, the two or­ga­ni­za­tions joined a pe­ti­tion to have the case re­viewed by the en­tire court. The 9th Cir­cuit is the na­tion’s largest with 28 ac­tive judges. For

en banc re­views, cases are heard be­fore the chief judge and 10 ran­domly se­lected judges.

En banc pe­ti­tions, how­ever, are sel­dom suc­cess­ful in the district. In 2012, the cir­cuit re­ceived 913 pe­ti­tions, con­sid­ered 33 and voted to re­hear 19. In 2011, it re­ceived 826 pe­ti­tions, con­sid­ered 28, and re­heard 13. In spite of those odds, or­ga­ni­za­tions from across the coun­try—in­clud­ing the Amer­i­can Hospi­tal As­so­ci­a­tion and eight state hospi­tal as­so­ci­a­tions—have shown their sup­port by sign­ing on to one of two ami­cus briefs filed. AARP and sev­eral other groups ar­gued in one brief that cut­ting re­im­burse­ment would hurt ac­cess to health­care be­cause, when a provider’s costs ex­ceed pay­ment, they opt out of the Med­i­caid pro­gram. “Rather than an­a­lyze up-front the im­pact of an across-the-board re­im­burse­ment cut, Cal­i­for­nia in­stead pro­posed that it would mon­i­tor for ac­cess prob­lems later,” the brief stated. “That os­trich-like ap­proach ig­nores re­peated de­ci­sions from this court rec­og­niz­ing that Medi-Cal rate cuts force health­care providers to limit the num­ber of new Med­i­Cal pa­tients they ac­cept or stop treat­ing them en­tirely.” —

An­dis Robeznieks SAN DIEGO—

Scripps Health agreed to buy the in­pa­tient hospice fa­cil­ity and as­sume the re­main­ing pa­tients and em­ploy­ees of a San Diego hospice or­ga­ni­za­tion that filed for Chap­ter 11 bank­ruptcy pro­tec­tion nine days ear­lier. Ac­cord­ing to a Feb. 13 fil­ing in U.S. Bank­ruptcy Court in San Diego, Scripps Health will pay $10.7 mil­lion for San Diego Hospice’s 23-bed fa­cil­ity and will ex­tend a debtor-in-pos­ses­sion loan of up to $5 mil­lion to help the hospice main­tain op­er­a­tions pend­ing the tran­si­tion. The plans must be ap­proved by the court. Ear­lier this month, four-hospi­tal Scripps Health ac­quired a small hospice com­pany in or­der to get a state li­cense to im­me­di­ately be­gin as­sum­ing pa­tients from the founder­ing San Diego Hospice. Scripps Health has been that or­ga­ni­za­tion’s largest re­fer­ral source. San Diego Hospice has been un­der the lens of a fed­eral au­dit since 2011. In Oc­to­ber, Medi­care be­gan re­quir­ing pre­pay­ment re­view of its claims, caus­ing se­vere cash­flow prob­lems, San Diego Hospice Chief Op­er­at­ing Of­fi­cer Wil­liam Parker said in a dec­la­ra­tion filed in the bank­ruptcy court. Over the past 90 days, San Diego Hospice suf­fered a 50% de­cline in pa­tients and rev­enue, ac­cord­ing to the dec­la­ra­tion, and the com­pany faces an an­nual op­er­at­ing loss of $19 mil­lion. “In our talks with San Diego Hospice, we both agreed that we did not want to see pa­tients fall through the cracks dur­ing this process, and we wanted to help as many hospice em­ploy­ees as we could,” Chris Van Gorder, pres­i­dent and CEO of Scripps Health, said in a news re­lease. —

Gregg Blesch and Rachel Lan­den

Dr. Rod Hochman served as Swedish Health Ser­vices pres­i­dent un­til last year.

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