COLUMBIA II: RECEIVES OFFERS FOR VALUE HEALTH UNITS
Columbia/HCA Healthcare Corp. Chair and CEO Dr. Thomas FristThis is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.
said yesterday that the hospital chain "is receiving offers for
its Value Health Inc. units well within expectations,"
Bloomberg/New York Times reports. Speaking at a securities
conference in San Francisco, Frist said Columbia expects to
complete the sale of the units, which include the "Valuerx
pharmacy-benefit operation and the disease information management
business," in "six to nine months." Columbia acquired Value
Health for $1.1 billion in July before company officials
announced in late August that they would sell it (see AHL 8/29).
The sale, Bloomberg/New York Times notes, "is part of Dr. Frist's
plan to distance the company from its aggressive reputation under
his predecessor, Richard L. Scott" (9/24).
Officials at the five Columbia hospitals in South Carolina
have recently decided to "drop 'Columbia'" from their names in
order "to distance their facilities from" the ongoing federal
investigation into the hospital chain's billing practices. "The
clear message is that we're focusing locally as opposed to
nationally. Our identity as a company is being made here," said
Frank DeMarco, Columbia's regional president for South Carolina.
Charleston Post & Courier notes that the action follows similar
decisions by Columbia facilities in Indiana, Kansas, Florida,
Alabama and California (Duke, 9/23).
TAKE IT TO THE STREETS
Service Employees International Union members will be
distributing leaflets today at Columbia facilities in 12 states,
including California and Florida, as part of a campaign "to
protect patients and the workers who care for them from alleged
reckless cost-cutting schemes imposed in many" of the hospital
chain's facilities. The effort is also aimed at exposing fraud
and other irregularities the union believes is negatively
impacting care at Columbia hospitals. "We want Columbia's new
leadership to understand that health care workers and their
patients deserve real reform that does not include understaffing,
patient care abuses and health care fraud," said SEIU President
Andrew Stern (SEIU release, 9/23).