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Clarian Health looks to scoop up White County hospital

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Clarian Health is nearing a merger with White County Memorial Hospital in Monticello—its second attempt to acquire a county hospital in the past three months.

The Indianapolis-based hospital system’s board of directors could vote on the White County deal as early as next week, although they might put off a decision until February, Clarian spokeswoman Traci Robison said . White County officials already have decided to move ahead with integrating the hospitals.

White County Memorial operates a new 25-bed facility about 30 miles north of Lafayette. But officials are concerned about possibly getting stuck with the bill for the $33.5 million spent to build the 2-year-old hospital and nearby medical office building.

"The hospital owes the money, but the county is ultimately responsible for the debt if the hospital cannot service it," White County Council president Buzz Horton said, according to the Journal-Courier of Lafayette. "There's a general unease that we don't know what the face of health care will look like in a couple years.”

In September, Clarian signed a letter of intent to merge with Morgan Hospital and Medical Center in Martinsville. That deal is awaiting agreement from Morgan County officials.

Smaller hospitals were looking to merge with larger systems even before the health reform law passed in March. They want access to the better borrowing terms or the specialist physicians a larger system can attract. They also need help acquiring the electronic medical record systems that will be required by the federal Medicare program beginning in 2015.

But health care reform has also induced many health care providers to merge in order to build up so-called accountable care organizations that will be asked to take on some financial risk in order to encourage them to keep patients healthy and out of the hospital. And the extra heft helps in price negotiations with private health insurers.

White County Memorial had $25 million in patient revenue in 2008, the most recent year of financial results it has publicly reported. Clarian is more than 10 times as large.

Clarian now has 16 hospitals in its system, and in recent years has added Bloomington Hospital, Blackford County Hospital in Hartford City, Ball Memorial in Muncie, and Orange County Hospital in Paoli. Since 2004, Clarian has built hospitals in Avon, Carmel and Lafayette, and has another under way in Fishers.

Hospitals in rural areas of the state help provide a steady stream of referrals to Clarian’s massive medical campuses in downtown Indianapolis, which include Methodist Hospital, Indiana University Hospital and Riley Hospital for Children.

But Clarian emphasized that its potential merger with White County would bring the benefits of the IU School of Medicine to the Monticello area. Clarian is a joint venture of the IU med school and Methodist Hospital. Next year, Clarian will change its name to Indiana University Health.

“A possible integration will go beyond that of just a hospital and will offer medical expertise with Clarian and IU School of Medicine’s commitment to education, research and community health,” Robison, the Clarian spokeswoman, wrote in an e-mail. “Collaboration benefits everyone and connection with Indiana University School of Medicine is the key to collaboration. It’s important to spread the knowledge and translate that knowledge to the bedside in individual communities we serve.”

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  1. I had read earlier this spring that Noodles & Co was going to open in the Fishers Marketplace (which is SR 37 and 131st St, not 141st St, just FYI). Any word on that? Also, do you happen to know what is being built in Carmel at Pennsylvania and Old Meridian? May just be an office building but I'm not sure.

  2. I'm sorry, but you are flat out wrong. There are few tracks in the world with the history of IMS and probably NO OTHER as widely known and recognized. I don't care what you think about the stat of Indy Car racing, these are pretty hard things to dispute.

  3. Also wondering if there is an update on the Brockway Pub-Danny Boy restaurant/taproom that was planned for the village as well?

  4. Why does the majority get to trample on the rights of the minority? You do realize that banning gay marriage does not rid the world of gay people, right? They are still going to be around and they are still going to continue to exist. The best way to get it all out of the spotlight? LEGALIZE IT! If gay marriage is legal, they will get to stop trying to push for it and you will get to stop seeing it all over the news. Why do Christians get to decide what is moral?? Why do you get to push your religion on others? How would legalizing gay marriage expose their lifestyle to your children? By the way, their lifestyle is going to continue whether gay marriage is legalized or not. It's been legal in Canada for quite a while now and they seem to be doing just fine. What about actual rules handed down by God? What about not working on Sundays? What about obeying your parents? What about adultery? These are in the 10 Commandments, the most important of God's rules. Yet they are all perfectly legal. What about divorce? Only God is allowed to dissolve a marriage so why don't you work hard to get divorce banned? Why do you get to pick and choose the parts of the Bible you care about?

  5. Look at the bright side. With the new Lowe's call center, that means 1000 jobs at $10 bucks an hour. IMS has to be drooling over all that disposable income. If those employees can save all their extra money after bills, in five years they can go to the race LIVE. Can you say attendance boost?

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