Controversial healthcare networking group closes

A Pensacola, FL-based industry group that regularly brought healthcare execs and vendors together for cozy--and questionable--networking parties has decided to close its doors. The Healthcare Research & Development Institute, which charged individual healthcare execs $25,000 a year and corporate members (including healthcare publisher Modern Healthcare) $40,000 a year to attend its parties, had been under investigation by the Connecticut state attorney general's office for almost two years. The state of Illinois is conducting a separate fraud investigation into HRDI, as well.

While officials at HRDI contended that theirs was a neutral vendor-supported organization, Connecticut investigators suggested that the group was no more than a front allowing vendors to buy access to hospital leaders, producing deals that might not offer the best quality or lowest cost. Despite the fact that the Connecticut investigation recently closed without finding any wrongdoing, the group's leaders felt it was time to take a "breather," said group president and CEO Diane Appleyard. Members plan to reopen the organization in a new form, though they're not being specific as to what form that might be.

Find out more about the closure:
- read this article in Modern Healthcare (sub. req.)