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October 8, 2012
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Indianapolis-based WellPoint Inc.’s $4.9 billion acquisition of Virginia-based Amerigroup Corp. is expected to be approved Oct. 23 after Amerigroup officials agreed to delay a shareholder vote for two weeks to resolve investors’ claims they were being shortchanged in the deal, according to Bloomberg News and Dow Jones Newswires. Amerigroup officials said they would consider new offers to buy the company, but with shareholder advisory groups Institutional Shareholder Services Inc. and Glass Lewis & Co. both endorsing the deal, new offers are not expected to materialize. The acquisition, announced July 9, would make WellPoint–already the second-largest U.S. health insurer–the largest private provider of Medicaid plans for low-income patients. Amerigroup helps states manage health coverage for the poor. Some investors sued Amerigroup’s board in August alleging directors, along with financial adviser Goldman Sachs Group Inc., put their own interests ahead of shareholders by backing the WellPoint offer when there was a second suitor that had expressed interest.

WellPoint Inc.’s National Government Services unit will add more than 100 jobs in Indianapolis beginning late this year or early in 2013 after the health insurance giant won a new contract with the federal Medicare program. The contract, awarded in late September, makes WellPoint’s NGS unit the administrator for hospital and physician bills racked up by 2.7 million seniors on Medicare in Illinois, Minnesota and Wisconsin. It also puts NGS in charge of home health and hospice bills for Medicare recipients in 13 states and five U.S. territories. If NGS keeps the contract for its maximum five-year term, the deal will bring in an estimated $318 million in revenue and account for roughly 20 percent of all NGS revenue. In May, WellPoint was forced to lay off 112 local workers after it lost a separate Medicare contract for Indiana and Michigan. WellPoint officials said a “large majority” of those employees will be asked back to work on the new contract. The new contract will add 200 to 300 workers to NGS, with half or more of those jobs being added in Indianapolis. The balance of the new positions will be added at an NGS office in Milwaukee. NGS now employs 2,000 people, including about 500 in Indianapolis. Winning the contract also helps NGS hold on to some workers that it might have had to let go. All told, more than 450 NGS employees will work on the new contract. Those employees will do claims processing, information technology support, and audit and reimbursement reviews of Medicare bills. NGS also will hire nurses to conduct medical reviews of claims.

Indianapolis-based Dow AgroSciences LLC acquired the assets of California-based Cal/West Seeds, which supplies alfalfa, clover and other crops to seed companies and growers in the United States, Canada and 25 other countries around the world. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed. “Cal/West fits our business model–they are not only a technology developer in their industry, but also have a strong genetics program which will strengthen our forages business,” said Rolando Meninato, the global leader of Dow Agro’s seeds, traits and oils business. The Cal/West acquisition will complement another alfalfa company Dow AgroSciences acquired in 2008, called Dairyland Seed, and will give Dow Agro one of the largest forages businesses in the industry. Dow Agro is a subsidiary of Michigan-based Dow Chemical Co.

Indiana Wesleyan University’s School of Health Sciences, which is under construction in Marion, will add graduate degree programs in physical therapy, occupational therapy, athletic training and public health. "Many professionals engaged in the health professions may desire to earn graduate or advanced degrees while entry-level positions now require graduate degrees," said Larry Lindsay, founding dean of the School of Health Sciences. "We are responding to the future needs of those students in the health professions. Thus we seek to become a major Christian provider of health and human services at the local, state, national and global level." A new building to house the school is expected to be ready to open in fall 2014. In 2010, Indiana Wesleyan lost out to Marian University as the site of a new medical school in Indiana. Indiana Wesleyan is an evangelical Christian university of The Wesleyan Church, founded in 1920. It enrolls more than 3,000 students on its campus in Marion and more than 12,000 at satellite education centers in Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio and over the Internet.

The Franciscan Alliance hospital system has absorbed Medical Specialists, a 55-physician practice in northwest Indiana. The group of primary care providers and specialists is now called Franciscan Medical Specialists, and provides care in such fields as endocrinology, OB-GYN, orthopedics, pulmonary medicine and rheumatology. It has offices in Munster, Dyer, Hammond, Hobart, La Porte, Merrillville, Michigan City, Schererville and Valparaiso. Franciscan Alliance, which is headquartered in Mishawaka, operates 13 hospitals in Indiana and Illinois, including three in the Indianapolis area.
 

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