NEWS BRIEFS

San Antonio home care units go on the block

As part of larger deal with Nashville, TN-based Columbia/HCA Healthcare involving the purchase of 80 Columbia/HCA home care agencies, Medshares in Memphis, TN, has agreed to buy Methodist Homecare, a four-branch home care unit employing more than 80 people and based in San Antonio.

Methodist Homecare is a division of Methodist Healthcare Systems, a five-hospital system, which the product of a 50-50 joint venture with Columbia/HCA and Methodist Healthcare Ministries of South Texas in San Antonio, TX.

In other news, Southwest General Hospital sold three of its six home care locations and closed the remaining offices, while Santa Rosa Healthcare reports that 14 of its employees have been laid off.


Olsten acquires Columbia’s FL operations

On Nov. 9, Columbia/HCA Healthcare Corp. sold its home health operations in Florida to Olsten Corp., for approximately $34 million. The sale had been pending since July when Olsten announced its intention to exercise its right of first refusal to acquire the division. The right of first refusal was entered in accordance with terms of the1994 deal in which Columbia bought Olsten’s Florida home care agencies. Columbia, the target of an ongoing federal probe for alleged Medicare billing improprieties, has to date divested its home care operations in 13 states. Columbia/HCA Healthcare says the home care divestiture is part of a restructuring effort.


Home Access Corp. releases Internet testing

Hoffman Estates, IL-based Home Access Health Corp. in conjunction with Better Health (a subsidiary of iVillage.com: The Women’s Network) has announced plans to provide Internet delivery of its at-home HIV testing and counseling services.

Although U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval is still pending, the companies plan to establish a "bridge" Web site that will afford visitors greater access to information on HIV and transmission prevention. Specifically, visitors will be able to order self-test kits over the Internet and later receive their results in the same fashion using a preselected, anonymous code number. Counseling services will be available for those who test positive, while behavior modification programs will be made available to those who test negative. The future Web site will be located on Better Health’s home page at www.better health.com.

According to Home Access Health it currently markets the only FDA-approved at-home HIV test, with plans in the works for an at-home hepatitis C test.


Florida Hospital Waterman expands, relocates

Florida Hospital Waterman in Eustis, FL, announced the relocation of its Home Support Services Medical Equipment and Supplies store to a new combination storefront/consolidated warehouse. The facility, which was to have been completed in late October, will offer an expanded product line of medical equipment and supplies, including but not limited to rehabilitation products, uniforms, wellness products, orthotics, a women’s health services boutique and supplies for diabetes management, wound care, incontinence and ostomy.

The facility will also serve as home to the organization’s transport service, Special Transport, that provides door-to-door, non-emergency stretcher and wheelchair transport in customized vans, as well as Florida Hospital Waterman Home Infusion, offering home infusion therapy and distribution systems.

The new address will be 2250 Waterman Way, Tavares, FL 32778. Telephone: (352) 742-8602.