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November 4, 2013
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Faced with huge debt payments next year, San Francisco-based Genstar Capital is exploring a sale of Indianapolis-based Harlan Laboratories, the world’s second-biggest provider of lab animals. Genstar, which acquired Harlan in a leveraged buyout in 2005, faces long odds on refinancing $280 million in debt that comes due in July 2014. That’s because Harlan has experienced “double-digit revenue contraction” after sales reached $326 million in 2012, according to a report by Standard & Poor’s. Harlan has been losing ground in its contract research work, analysts say, because pharmaceutical companies have scaled back early-stage research. Harlan employs about 330 people in the Indianapolis area.

The state of Indiana will extend its high-risk insurance pool through the end of January to accommodate Hoosiers who have been unable to enroll in coverage through the federal marketplace, according to TheStatehouseFile.com. The Indiana Comprehensive Health Insurance Association–often called ICHIA–provides coverage for roughly 6,800 individuals with significant medical needs and costs the state about $6.3 million per month. The program was scheduled to shut down at the end of the year. The state created its high-risk insurance pool in 1982 to provide health care options for seriously ill Hoosiers who did not have access to coverage in the private market. Its users tend to have problems including cancer, hemophilia, HIV/AIDS or organ failure. Last spring, the General Assembly passed a law dissolving the program because the patients would become eligible to purchase coverage through the federal marketplace. But state officials now worry those patients won’t be able to sign up in time.

In an attempt to improve public health planning and efforts, researchers at IUPUI have received a $200,000 grant to study whether they can use electronic medical records to measure health outcomes by neighborhood or census block. The two-year study will try to establish a valid method for integrating data from the medical records with other community health indicators such as parks, health care facilities and grocery stores selling fresh produce. “When there is a limited budget for, say, preventing diabetes, the county health department has to determine how to spend its resources,” said Brian Dixon, an informatics professor and researcher at Indianapolis-based Regenstrief Institute Inc., who is leading the study. “One choice is to evenly divide the money across all communities within the county, some of which probably don’t have as much need as others. A second choice is to identify specific areas within the county that might need intervention the most.” The grant was awarded by the National Network of Public Health Institutes with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
 

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