Regional Digest

• The Coalition of Wisconsin Aging Groups (CWAG; Madison, WI) and the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) expressed their disappointment recently with the state’s decision to delay implementation of Family Care, a plan to redesign Wisconsin’s long term care system. The decision was based upon the recommendation of Department of Health and Family Services Secretary Joe Leann. Instead of implementing the plan, the secretary called for expanding pilot programs in the counties to gather reliable data on cost and to demonstrate that the system can work. The plan has been in the works for a number of years. Both CWAG and AARP officials say they believe there is still potential for initiating the framework of such a system. Both are concerned that halting the plan will have severe consequences for the state’s elderly. The parties urge the governor to reconsider his decision and meet with advocates and counties to see if it’s still possible to reach some consensus.

ResCare (Louisville, KY) has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire American Patient Care Corp. (APC; Rome, GA), a private home care agency providing services for people with disabilities in the Rome, GA, area. Structured as a cash purchase of assets, the transaction is expected to close in 1Q99, subject to normal licensing approvals. APC generates about $1.2 million in annual revenue and provides home care services to roughly 160 patients.

The owner of Amitan (Cleveland), a healthcare agency, recently pleaded guilty of Medicare fraud and was sentenced to six years in prison and ordered to repay $12.9 million, reported The Plain Dealer of Cleveland. The owner was one of 34 at Amitan who were indicted on charges they billed the federal government for more than $14 million of unnecessary and unperformed treatment. Prosecutors said Amitan created false medical records that were signed by nurses and doctors and had subcontractors that kept pools of patients who didn’t qualify for home care, yet submitted bills for their treatment, the Dealer reported.

• Baylor Health Care System (Dallas) and Texas Health Resources (Dallas) formally agreed last week to combine operations, bringing together a group of home health centers, as well as 24 hospitals, 40 clinics, senior centers, and a retirement center. Combined, the new operation, which will be named Southwest Health System, generated $2.3 billion in operating revenues in FY98. Texas Health Resources includes the Harris Methodist Health System, the Arlington Memorial Hospital Foundation, and Presbyterian Healthcare Resources. Baylor’s network is led by Baylor University Medical Center (Dallas).