The Indiana Family and Social Services Administration will hold two public hearings this week on using the Healthy Indiana Plan to expand Medicaid coverage in Indiana. The hearings must be held before the federal government will consider Indiana’s special request to use the Healthy Indiana Plan as opposed to expanding its traditional Medicaid program. "After completing a preliminary review of your extension request, we have determined that the state's extension request has not met the requirements for a complete extension request," wrote Diane Gerrits, director of the CMS' division of state demonstrations and waivers, in a Feb. 25 letter to Gov. Mike Pence. That response sparked criticism of Pence from Democratic lawmakers, who said Pence’s strategy makes it unlikely the state Legislature will have a decision from the feds before they have to adopt a two-year budget at the end of April. “We have considerable concerns as to whether this will hamper the state’s ability to inject billions of dollars of federal funds into Indiana’s economy, create tens of thousands of jobs and give hundreds of thousands of Hoosiers a plan to receive affordable health care services,” wrote House Minority Leader Scott Pelath, D-Michigan City, and Senate Minority Leader Tim Lanane, D-Anderson, in a letter to Pence. They even asked if Pence would call a special session of the Legislature to deal with the Medicaid expansion. Pence spokeswoman Christy Denault said the administration always knew they had to hold public hearings but was trying to get an approval as soon as possible because of a June deadline.
Bloomington-based Cook Medical Inc. launched a new set of minimally invasive products to treat obstructive salivary gland disease and, it's hoped, stave off the need for open surgeries. The most prevalent obstructive salivary gland disease is obstruction by salivary duct stones. It’s a disease that affects twice as many men as women. Cook, which launched the products as part of its newly formed division for otolaryngology and head and neck surgery, said physicians can use its products to perform outpatient surgeries to remove salivary stones.
Fishers-based Nexxt Spine LLC, a designer and manufacturer of spinal implants, is consolidating operations and moving its headquarters and manufacturing facility to Noblesville. The city of Noblesville announced Monday that its Common Council approved a three-year tax abatement for Nexxt Spine, which is expected to add 44 jobs by 2018. The company currently has 11 employees split between its headquarters in Fishers and a manufacturing facility in Indianapolis. Nexxt Spine was founded in 2009 by Andrew Elsbury, who previously had served as a contract manufacturer for several large medical-device companies.
St. Vincent Indianapolis Hospital recently earned verification as a trauma center by the American College of Surgeons. It is now the fourth trauma center in Indianapolis designated by the American College of Surgeons and the ninth in Indiana. To prepare for the verification, St. Vincent renovated space for trauma, surgical and neuroscience intensive care units and added CT scan imaging equipment. The hospital also dedicated one of its operating rooms for trauma and added in-house physician coverage for trauma surgery, anesthesia, critical care and radiology. To ensure air transportation was readily available, St. Vincent Health arranged an affiliation agreement with PHI Air Medical called St. Vincent StatFlight. The service has five medical helicopters in Anderson, Danville, North Vernon, Rushville and West Lafayette.