COLUMBIA: Frist Predicts Deal On Atlantic Division
Columbia/HCA Healthcare Corp. is closing in on a $1 billion deal to sell "most or all" of the 40 hospitals in its Atlantic division to an unidentified nonprofit hospital consortium, CEO Dr. Thomas Frist announced yesterday at the company's annual shareholders meeting (Hundley, St. Petersburg Times, 5/15). Frist also "predicted an end to the federal investigation of the hospital giant by the first quarter of 1999." He said the company was "reaching out" to the federal government. "I think that they are gaining confidence in us," he said. The Wall Street Journal reports that the prediction, coupled with the announcement that former Capital Cities/ABC Chair Thomas Murphy will join the board, "are signs that Columbia may be turning a corner" (Lagnado, 5/15). The St. Petersburg Times reports that this year's annual meeting was a far cry from last year's, when the federal fraud investigation had just become public. "Frist's predecessor, Richard Scott, responded with a tightly controlled meeting, with plenty of beefy bodyguards in view and mandatory searches of all audience members' purses and briefcases." However, "[t]his year, no security was evident and there were no searches," and "Frist earnestly invited two opponents in the audience to join him for further conversation after the meeting (5/15).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.