MedPartners, the beleaguered physician practice management company, named Mac Crawford president and CEO. Crawford had been chairman and CEO of Magellan Health Services, one of the country's largest specialty managed care organizations. MedPartners also announced that it finished 1997 with a net loss of $821 million, compared with a net loss of $146 million in 1996. MedPartners is in the process of closing 84 clinics, affecting 238 physicians.... Speaking of the CEO shuffle, Stephen Wiggins departed Oxford Health Plans, the company he founded in 1984, with a $9 million severance package, according to company filings. Wiggins left Oxford in February, a result of the HMO's financial and operational problems. The New York attorney general's office is trying to prevent Wiggins from getting the entire package.... The doctors who owned Physician Healthcare Plan of New Jersey sold their 80,000-member HMO to Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey. Today's market makes it nearly impossible to compete against the big players, said Joseph Billotti, M.D., the HMO's former chairman.... The National Committee for Quality Assurance put two new performance measures in the 1999 version of the Health Plan Employer Information and Data Set: cholesterol management after acute cardiovascular events and antidepressant management. In addition, performance on HEDIS measures will count toward a plan's accreditation score beginning July 1, 1999.... The Agency for Health Care Policy and Research is inviting submission of clinical practice guidelines for inclusion in its National Guidelines Clearinghouse, which goes online late this year. Guidelines must have been developed under the auspices of medical specialty associations or professional societies, government agencies, health plans or public or private organizations to be considered for inclusion.... The American College of Physicians has approved a merger with the American Society of Internal Medicine. The merger takes effect July 1, with the combined ACP-ASIM to be headquartered in Philadelphia, ACP's current home. The combined group will have 120,000 members.
--Michael D. Dalzell