“February 9, 1998 Intelligence:  Late Breaking Lab News”

Brian Carr and Haywood Cochrane’s Pathology Consultants of America (PCA) is wasting no time. On January 19 the Nashville-based company announced the formal launch of operations. (See TDR, January 19, 1998.) This was followed by another announcement 15 days later that PCA had obtained a $15 million credit line from NationsBank. The pathology-based physicians practice management company (PPM) expects to use the credit line to “structure new affiliations with pathology practice groups.”

Mercer / Foster Higgins released the results of its annual survey of healthcare costs. Overall medical costs for active and retired workers increased just 0.2% for 1997. The survey found that 82% of American workers with health insurance were now in managed care plans, up from 52% four years ago. More ominously, the Mercer/ Foster Higgins survey polled 4,000 employers and determined that the average increase for healthcare costs in 1998 is expected to be more than 7%.

APR MAY BE IN MERGER DISCUSSIONS

Last issue of THE DARK REPORT noted the departure from American Pathology Resources (APR) of its CEO and President, George Goodwin. Sources tell THE DARK REPORT that APR, a Nashville-based pathology PPM, is negotiating a possible sale or merger with another pathology-based physician practice management firm. APR officials declined to return calls concerning the matter.

ADD TO:…AMERICAN PATH RESOURCES
Assuming that APR was negotiating a sale, another pathology PPM would be a logical buyer. Could Pathology Consultants of America, armed with their new $15 million credit line, be a party to negotiations? The only other pathology PPM known to have available funds is AmeriPath, Inc.

Last Monday, Accumed, International, Inc. of Chicago, Illinois disclosed the resignation of its Chariman, President and CEO, Peter P. Gombrich. Replacing Gombrich is Paul F. Lavallee, currently a director. Gombrich will remain as Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors. Accumed produces an integrated automated cytopathology system, along with other products.

Additional rumors involving laboratory mergers and acquisitions involve Dynacare. In different parts of the United States the Canadian-based laboratory has conducted direct negotiations with several independent commercial laboratories which might be for sale. Dynacare also kicked the tires at some laboratory sites which Quest Diagnostics Incorporated would like to shed as part of its restructuring. Despite all the shopping, there is no hint that Dynacare is ready to formalize an agreement to buy another laboratory.

MORE ON:…DYNACARE Intelligence sources say that Dynacare’s Milwaukee joint venture, known as Dynacare/ United Regional Medical Services, gained provider status with Wisconsin Independent Physicians Group. WIPG is a significant player in southeastern Wisconsin.

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