Special master appointed for Westerly Hospital

Posted 12/19/11

WESTERLY – Judge Brian P. Stern of Washington County Superior Court appointed W. Mark Russo temporary “special master” to oversee Westerly Hospital’s troubled finances. The hospital had been placed in receivership.

Russo, of the Providence law firm Ferrucci Russo, had been one of the attorneys that had represented Transition Healthcare Co. of Nashville, Tenn., an unsuccessful for-profit bidder for Landmark Medical Center.

Transition had withdrawn its bid for Landmark in May, after a month and half of hearings before Superior Court Judge Michael A. Silverstein. At issue had been Transition’s inability to reach an asset purchase agreement with the special master Jonathan N. Savage.

On May 31, Silverstein approved a bid by Steward Health Care of Boston to purchase Landmark Medical Center, pending approval by state regulators.

Another failed bidder for Landmark Medical Center, the for-profit Prime Healthcare Services of Ontario, Calif., recently was featured in the news.

The San Francisco Chronicle reported that Prime is under investigation by the FBI for its billing practices.

The FBI would neither confirm not deny the investigations. Two former employees who worked as medical coders said that they had been interviewed by an FBI special agent about Prime’s coding practices, according to The San Francisco Chronicle.

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