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  • "NIGHTLINE" TAKES HARD LOOK AT THE NFL'S HEALTH CARE

         ABC's "Nightline" examined player injuries in the NFL and
    "the conspiracy of silence" some NFL team officials maintain
    towards treating players and securing medical care programs with
    local hospitals.  Dr. Lon Castle of the NFL Physicians Society is
    speaking out about deals between local hospitals and teams:  "We
    don't want to see the quality of care, that we believe is
    excellently delivered to the athletes, compromised by money and
    big business."  Dr. Russell Warren, N.Y. Giants team physician:
    "I've had players ask me specifically, ... 'Does that mean I'm
    out for the highest bid?'"  The report went on to examine the
    packages considered by the NFL's two newest franchises from
    different groups seeking to handle the teams' health care.
         JACKSONVILLE:  Two major medical groups were "pitted against
    each other.  Major hospitals trying to attract the hottest
    patients [Jaguars players] in town, with a lot more than medical
    care."  Frank Pierce, an official of a hospital that lost the bid
    for the Jaguars, said that his 5-year, $4.8M offer included
    $200,000/year for team physician fees,  $60,000/year for trainers
    fees and $500,000/year in advertising commitments -- but also the
    team was seeking "certain advertising commitments or tickets and
    skyboxes."  Pierce:  "The list was self-evident.  [The Jaguars]
    did not want the perception that the hospital was buying this
    contract."  The winning hospital, Baptist Health Services, became
    a "proud new member of the Jaguars owners circle of sponsors,
    joining a bank and a beer company."  Baptist's Bill Mason said
    while the deal is simply to provide health services, he did not
    rule out some cross-promotional with the Jaguars.  Jaguars VP
    Michael Huyghue:  "The hospitals spend ... a singificant amount
    of money on reaching the community and advertising.  So the fact
    that we have a component to our industry which reflects that, I
    just don't see where the conflct comes in."  But 49ers team
    physician Michael Dillingham asked of the relationships between
    teams and care providers that are also sponsors:  "Does this mean
    I have to be forced into an alliance with a large institution ...
    whether they're good or not?"
         CAROLINA:  ABC's Armen Keteyian said Castle, Dillingham and
    other top NFL team doctors "particularly fear steering players
    into official hospitals ... looking for a return on their
    investment," instead of sending the players to nationally-known
    specialists.  While the Panthers officials initially sought
    sponsorship deals as part of hospital proposals, Panthers GM Bill
    Polian ultimately decided to base the decision on who would
    provide the team's health care "solely on medical issues."
    However, Keteyian reports that the Charlotte medical center
    chosen by the team did commit $150,000 for team medical supplies
    "in exchange for the right to bill itself as the Panthers'
    official health care provider.  The club's new team physician
    told 'Nightline' he would resign if the medical center exerted
    any undue pressure."  However, when asked what he would think if
    the Panthers went to another hospital, Carolinas Medical Center
    VP Alan Taylor said, "I can't imagine that happening under this
    situation, because this is a managed care contract" ("Nightline,"
    ABC, 11/1).
    

    Print | Tags: ABC, Franchises, Jacksonville Jaguars, NFL, San Francisco 49ers, Walt Disney
  • HUDSON HAWKS A NEW PACKAGE IN BID TO PURCHASE THE HEAT

         Whit Hudson said yesterday that he will submit a financial
    package to the NBA on November 15 for approval to purchase 40% of
    the Miami Heat.  Hudson said that the $60M package will include a
    $30M cash payment.  But Hudson's ownership application probably
    will be submitted without the approval of the Heat's four limited
    partners, which could complicate the NBA's vote on the sale.
    Hudson maintained that the league would approve the sale because
    this package is "exactly what the NBA requested" (Alex Marvez,
    MIAMI HERALD, 11/2).  Hudson is brother-in-law of South FL sports
    magnate and Blockbuster CEO Wayne Huizenga.
    

    Print | Tags: Franchises, Miami Heat, NBA
  • RAMS RELOCATION DECISION ISN'T EXPECTED FOR ANOTHER MONTH

         FANS Inc. Chair Thomas Eagleton said yesterday that the Rams
    will most likely wait until December 1 to decide whether to stay
    put or relocate to either St. Louis or Baltimore.  Eagleton said
    that he will make several trips to L.A. to meet with Rams
    officials before the final decision is made: "Body language is
    important" (R.B. Fallstrom, AP/L.A. TIMES, 11/2).  NFL
    Commissioner Paul Tagliabue said that there has been no
    discussion at the league meetings about the Rams' potential move
    (Leonard Shapiro, WASHINGTON POST, 11/2).
    

    Print | Tags: Franchises, NFL, St. Louis Rams
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