A Medical Device Daily

After months of secrecy and speculation, the Robert W. Woodruff Foundation (Atlanta) was officially identified as the $200 million mystery donor bailing out a major urban hospital for the poor.

Grady Memorial Hospital (Atlanta) has long served the Atlanta community as its mainstay charity hospital, with one of the most advanced trauma and intensive care centers in the country.

A huge financial shortfall threatened the 100-year-old institution.

The donation makes up the bulk of a $300 million plan to save Grady and will pay for needed infrastructure improvements. The hospital ended last year with a $55 million deficit in its $730 million budget and needs an estimated $300 million for capital improvements.

The donor was made public in a letter signed by Woodruff Foundation president Russell Hardin, dated April 2, and was one of several requirements to be met before the Grady Memorial Hospital Corporation (GMHC) signed the lease agreement that will transfer daily control of Grady to the newly-formed nonprofit board.

The lease was bolstered by a $100 million fundraising commitment from board chairman Pete Correll, written agreements from the Emory University (Atlanta) and Morehouse College (Atlanta) medical schools to renegotiate their contracts with Grady and assurances of state support from the Georgia Department of Community Health.

Before signing the funding agreement, the following items were received:

The Woodruff letter pledging $200 million; the first installment of $50 million is due when the lease commences, targeted for May 1;

The GMHC submitted a letter pledging its best efforts to raise another $100 million over four years;

Emory and Morehouse School of Medicine submitted letters agreeing to renegotiate their contract and outstanding debt obligations with Grady; and assurances of state support.

Pete Correll, chairman of the GMHC, said the new board has a very specific focus.

"We exist to preserve Grady's historic mission as a safety-net hospital for this region and to raise the money it takes to do that," he said. "This board will not try to run the day-to-day work of the hospital. Instead, our job is to ensure good governance and transparency, support a top-quality management team so they can successfully run the day-to-day operations of the hospital, and raise the money Grady needs to keep serving this community."

In contract news:

• Insightful (Seattle), a provider of predictive analytics and reporting solutions, said that Medical Prognosis Institute (MPI; H rsholm, Denmark) a provider of technology based on DNA microarrays, has selected S-PLUS 8 Enterprise Server, Insightful's software platform for statistical data analysis and predictive analytics. MPI will use S-PLUS 8 Enterprise Server to deploy analytic models originally prototyped in R, the free open-source dialect of Insightful's S language.

Steen Knudsen, chief scientific officer of MPI, said, "Insightful's S-PLUS server and the S+ArrayAnalyzer solution provide a robust, extensible technology framework and are readily validated within our environment. In addition, I was very pleased that in less than 20 hours I was able to easily port our R code into S-PLUS for deployment with the S-PLUS server."

• Cigna HealthCare (Bloomfield, Connecticut) and St. John's Health System (Springfield, Missouri) said that effective July 15 CIGNA members will be able to visit any of St. John's six hospitals throughout southwest Missouri. The contract includes all of St. John's hospitals and affiliated physician practices.

St. John's will be the only health system in CIGNA's southwest Missouri network. The system has hospitals in Springfield, Lebanon, Mountain View, Aurora, Cassville and Berryville, Arkansas.