Memphis hospital to sell interest in MCO to prop up finances

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) - Board members governing the Regional Medical Center in Memphis have voted to sell the hospital's stake in West Tennessee's largest managed care organization.

The hospital -- popularly called "the Med" -- is financially strapped. As a Level 1 Trauma Center, it gets the most seriously injured patients from traffic crashes, accidents and crime.

The Med also operates a burn center, which is expensive. It also gets many uninsured patients. The board voted yesterday to sell the Med's interest in TLC Family Health Care to AmeriGroup, pending state approval.

The hospital and the UT Medical group formed the MCO in 1993 as the state was starting TennCare. If the sale is approved, the Med and UT Medical would split between $12 million and $30 million in profits and nearly $35 million in assets.

The Med's share of profits would be put into a restricted fund and several members say it should be used only for capital projects, such a new emergency department.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)