KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Mayo Takes Over Ga. Health System

The Mayo Clinic gains a presence in Georgia, while hospital boards approve other mergers and acquisitions around the U.S. There's also news about the debate over delivery of charity care by nonprofit hospitals in Illinois.

Georgia Health News: Mayo Clinic Gains Presence In Georgia
The renowned Mayo Clinic is entering Georgia for the first time, taking control of a health system in Waycross. In a merger that is effective Thursday, Satilla Health Services — featuring a 231-bed hospital and two nursing homes — will be renamed Mayo Clinic Health System in Waycross. No money exchanged hands in the deal, which has been in the works for two years (Miller, 3/1).

Boston Globe: Hospital Boards Approve Merger Of Lowell General And Saints Medical Center
The boards of Lowell General Hospital and its longtime crosstown rival Saints Medical Center have approved an agreement to merge into a single community hospital. Approval came four months after the 157-bed Saints, a nonprofit Catholic hospital, disclosed that it had pulled out of a deal to be bought by for-profit hospital group Steward Health Care System LLC, and instead planned to merge with Lowell General (Weisman, 3/2).

The Philadelphia Inquirer: Burlco Hospital Auction Brings $15M Bid
After about a minute of cajoling, an auctioneer in Mount Holly gave up Thursday and declared Burlington County's 100-year-old Buttonwood Hospital "gone" to the lone bidder that offered $15 million for the 200-bed geriatric and psychiatric facility. Ocean Healthcare, a Lakewood, N.J., company that owns and operates 15 nursing home-rehabilitation centers across New Jersey, offered only the minimum acceptable bid set by the county freeholders. A second prequalified bidder remained quiet during the auction. The freeholders, who did not attend the auction, have reserved the right to review the bid within the next 30 days before voting on whether to accept it. They are considering a sale because the hospital has been operating at a deficit for 10 years and is expected to lose $4.5 million this year (Hefler, 3/2).

In Dallas, troubled Parkland Memorial Hospital says it won't divulge details of its blueprint to solve patient care breakdowns —

The Dallas Morning News: Monitors Deliver Blueprint For Solving Crisis, But Parkland Won't Release It
Federally installed safety monitors have given Parkland Memorial their plan for fixing the life-threatening patient-care breakdowns that nearly cost the hospital $400 million in government funding last year. But the public, whose taxes heavily support Parkland, can't see it. So say hospital leaders: "It is Parkland's responsibility to protect the legal and privacy rights of patients and the institution as a whole," according to a statement sent late last night (Dunklin, 3/1).

And in Illinois, nonprofit hospitals are being pressured into giving more charity care —

The Associated Press/Chicago Sun-Times: Governor Lifts Hold On State Hospital Tax Rulings
Turning up the heat on talks aimed at making sure nonprofit hospitals do enough charitable work, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn stuck to his Thursday deadline and authorized the Department of Revenue to resume decisions that could strip some health care institutions of valuable tax exemptions. The Democratic governor's action came a day after negotiations failed to reach a compromise on how much charity care hospitals must provide to earn freedom from local taxes. The state had refrained from decisions on exemptions as negotiations proceeded (Johnson, 3/1).

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.