Officials with the Environmental Protection Agency and Delek US Holdings have been busy in recent days cleaning up about 5,000 barrels of oil that have spilled from a pipeline into the Little Cornie Bayou in southern Arkansas. Bloomberg reports that about a fifth of the spill still needs to be gathered and that Delek execs don't expect a major financial impact.
Cigna, the parent of local Medicare Advantage specialist HealthSpring, has completed the acquisition of several plans with members in Arkansas, Oklahoma and Texas from Arcadian Health and Humana, which are joining forces and were told by regulators to shed some operations. One thing has changed since the parties announced their deal last summer: The Fort Smith market straddling the Arkansas/Oklahoma market has also changed hands, adding 17 counties to the 18 in the original agreement. In all, about 4,500 people are being added to HealthSpring's rolls.
SEE ALSO: Cigna's HealthSpring set to acquire Texas, Arkansas operations from June
A large multi-specialty physician group located in the city literally split between Arkansas and Texas — Texarkana — has chosen Franklin-based M*Modal Inc. and the company’s Fluency Direct speech recognition product. The group is home to more than 100 doctors in the area.
“Our physicians were immediately impressed by the ease of use and the significant difference in accuracy once we upgraded our system from our previous speech recognition provider and began using M*Modal Fluency Direct,” said Robert Haley, CIO of the Collom & Carney Clinic Association, in a presser linked here.
Capella Healthcare has signed an asset purchase agreement for two Hot Springs, Ark., facilities it agreed in April to acquire. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Capella, which already runs a hospital in the Hot Springs market, will combine its operations with those of Mercy Hospital and Mercy Clinic assuming regulators approve.
“The signed definitive agreement marks the end of due diligence and is the next step in the transaction process. The parties have already begun pursuing customary required regulatory approvals. Mercy’s relationship to the Catholic Church also requires approval from the Vatican, and that process is underway. This final phase is expected to take 60 to 90 days, subject to regulatory and Vatican approval.
“This is an important step for our organizations in an effort to build an integrated health system that will advance healthcare for this region for years to come,” said Michael Wiechart, Capella’s senior vice president and COO.
SEE ALSO: Our previous stories on this and other Capella initiatives
Representatives of Community Health Systems and Arkansas BlueCross BlueShield have agreed on a new contract that will keep the Franklin-based company's nine Natural State hospitals in the insurer's network. As for who won, BlueCross is sticking out its chest.
"The terms of the contract have not changed," ABCBS spokeswoman Max Greenwood said. "They just rescinded their notification to terminate. Both sides look forward to serving our members."
Executives at Capella Healthcare continue to work on the fine points of their proposed takeover of a Hot Springs, Ark., hospital run by Mercy Health Ministry. Plans for the deal to merge the hospital with Capella's nearby National Park Medical Center were announced — and quickly opposed by some — in April and the two parties say they are running a little behind schedule checking all their boxes. One of those boxes is a trip to Rome.
"As part of the governance process, Mercy Health Ministry must seek approval from the Vatican for certain decisions. The transfer of Mercy Hot Springs to Capella is a decision that requires approval by the Vatican [...] Mercy representatives will be traveling to the Vatican sometime later this summer or fall to obtain the necessary approval."
Nursing home operator Advocat says it has reached a deal to sell one of its centers in Arkansas to an unidentified venture. The facility posted a small loss in the first half of this year on revenues of $2.6 million, which amounted to 3.4 percent of the company's total revenues.
"The Arkansas facility was operating at a modest loss, and its replacement in our portfolio with better performing nursing centers as described in our growth plan not only will provide an immediate financial benefit but also diversify our operations modestly from the state of Arkansas, which has been a challenging market for us in terms of professional liability."