Insurer unsure on N.J.
Word on the street is that AmeriHealth New Jersey is trying to get out of the Garden State market by selling its state license, according to two sources connected to the health insurance world.
One source said AmeriHealth's parent company, Independence Blue Cross, is looking to focus more on the Philadelphia market under its new president and CEO, Daniel J. Hilferty.
When asked for comment, AmeriHealth released this statement: "AmeriHealth New Jersey is not seeking to sell its license. As the face of health care in New Jersey continues to change, we are committed to helping create new health care options, providing straightforward guidance and simplifying the complexities of health care — particularly for small and midsized businesses. We are always evaluating opportunities that will help meet the changing needs of our customers and the people of our state."
Warming to solar agreement
The effort to introduce and pass a new bill to boost the solar market is getting new life. The prior effort failed to produce consensus in the waning hours of the lame-duck session.
A tipster said Steve Sweeney and the governor have spoken directly, each expressing a desire to get something done sooner rather than later. Interested parties have been meeting with the Senate president and Bob Hanna to discuss ideas.
The main hurdle in lame duck — which still exists today — is the issue of "grandfathering" for grid supply projects. The tipster predicts it will be a few more weeks before a bill is introduced for this session.
"What's notable is that everyone is talking and focused," the source said.
Band-Aid for a sore ego?
Johnson & Johnson watchers are keeping an eye on the race between Alex Gorsky and Sheri McCoy to succeed CEO William Weldon. The two are vice chairmen, with McCoy overseeing the pharma side and Gorsky running the medical device business. The latest buzz is that Gorsky has said he will leave if he doesn't get the top spot. A spokesman declined to comment "on this type of speculation," and referred Grapevine to a September profile of Weldon in Barron's.
Weldon was quoted as saying, "One person will get the job. But the other person will still have an extraordinary job. When you look at the job that either of these people would have as a number two, it is broader than that of most CEOs. And the two of them work as a great team."
The question is: Will Gorsky still think his current job is "extraordinary" if he gets passed over?
Merger talks come off books
Last month, Grapevine confirmed talk that New Jersey accounting giant J.H. Cohn was in three-way merger talks with Baker Tilly and the Reznick Group, but that a deal was unlikely to come to fruition. The deal is officially dead, an accounting industry source said.
But the source confirmed that J.H. Cohn is now "talking to a super-regional firm" as the Roseland-based firm considers adding new geographies to its U.S. and international presence.
Hail Mary play for St. Clare's
St. Louis-based Ascension Health, which is in discussions with St. Joseph's Healthcare System, in Paterson, and St. Mary's Hospital, in Passaic, has also thrown its hat into the ring for St. Clare's, a source said.
Grapevine reported in December that several health systems were interested in partnering with St. Clare's: Atlantic Health, Hackensack and St. Barnabas. Grapevine heard one or two other entities were interested, but had not heard any other names until now.
Grapevine reported last week St. Clare's would select a partner to exclusively negotiate with by Feb. 15, but a St. Clare's representative said no decisions have been made.
A spokesman for Ascension said the company is focusing on its proposed partnership with St. Joseph's, and St. Clare's is not currently being discussed.
Cooper Medical School at Rowan University officials are telling South Jersey's major players to keep July 24 open for the school's grand opening festivities. The tentative date is after the administration moves into the 200,000-square-foot facility.
Sharon Clark, spokeswoman for Cooper, said the celebration's invite list will include "all of the people instrumental in bringing the school to Camden."
Grapevine reports on the behind-the-scenes buzz in the business community. Contact Editor Sharon Waters at email@example.com.