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December 23, 2013
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Even though St. Louis-based Ascension Health cut nearly 900 jobs this year from its Indianapolis-based hospital subsidiary, St. Vincent Health, it wants to add 549 more to its service center here by 2016. Ascension, the largest Catholic hospital chain in the nation, opened a service center in Indianapolis in June 2011, and has hired 500 people since then. The service center workers perform human resources, purchasing, bill payment and supply chain management for all of Ascension’s hospitals and hundreds of its other health care facilities. As part of the expansion over the next three years, the service center will provide support services to the entire Ascension chain, which includes 150,000 employees at more than 1,900 locations spread over 24 states and Washington, D.C. St. Vincent cut 865 workers at the end of June. The staff cuts, which represented 5 percent of St. Vincent’s total Indiana employment of 17,300, were brought on by lower-than-expected patient volumes, congressional budget cuts and slower-than-expected growth in reimbursement rates. St. Vincent’s announcement was the first of several by Indiana’s largest hospital systems. In October, Indiana University Health eliminated 935 positions. And in October, Franciscan Alliance cut 925 positions. The Indiana Economic Development Corp. offered Ascension up to $4.8 million in conditional tax credits and up to $200,000 in training grants, if Ascension adds all 549 jobs it has promised.

Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, along with most other major insurers, will allow consumers who enroll in health plans through the new Obamacare exchanges 10 extra days to pay their first premiums and still gain coverage effective Jan. 1. That means consumers can wait to make their first payment until as late as Jan. 10. According to Bloomberg News, the Obama administration had asked insurers on Dec. 12 to give customers more time to pay and grant retroactive coverage. A few days of retroactive coverage is common in the health insurance industry. Anthem’s parent company, Indianapolis-based WellPoint Inc., will also let current members buy a new plan in the off-exchange individual market as late as Jan. 10 and still be covered retroactive to the first of the year. Many WellPoint and Anthem customers whose individual policies were canceled because the policies did not comply with Obamacare’s new rules, were automatically enrolled in a similar Obamacare-compliant plan off of the exchange. But now Anthem is allowing such customers to choose a different plan by the 10th of each month in either January, February or March.

Eli Lilly and Co., Pfizer Inc. and other large drugmakers will keep paying doctors to give talks about their products, leaving GlaxoSmithKline Plc alone for now in its decision to halt such compensation. According to Bloomberg News, United Kingdom-based Glaxo changed its policy after Chinese authorities accused the company of using cash and sexual favors to bribe doctors and health officials to promote product sales. But Lilly and other drugmakers say physicians are still in most cases the best source of information for their colleagues. “Few products in the world are as complex as an innovative medicine,” said Scott MacGregor, a spokesman for Indianapolis-based Lilly. He added that Glaxo’s move won’t change how Lilly does business. New York-based Pfizer, the world’s biggest drugmaker, is “committed to fairly compensating health-care professionals, clinical investigators and institutions for the work they do,” Dean Mastrojohn, a spokesman for the company, told Bloomberg.

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  1. Liberals do not understand that marriage is not about a law or a right ... it is a rite of religous faith. Liberals want "legal" recognition of their homosexual relationship ... which is OK by me ... but it will never be classified as a marriage because marriage is a relationship between a man and a woman. You can gain / obtain legal recognition / status ... but most people will not acknowledge that 2 people of the same sex are married. It's not really possible as long as marriage is defined as one man and one woman.

  2. That second phrase, "...nor make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunitites of citizens..." is the one. If you can't understand that you lack a fundamental understanding of the Constitution and I can't help you. You're blind with prejudice.

  3. Why do you conservatives always go to the marrying father/daughter, man/animal thing? And why should I keep my sexuality to myself? I see straights kissy facing in public all the time.

  4. I just read the XIV Amendment ... I read where no State shall deprive any person of life, liberty, or property ... nor make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunitites of citizens ... I didn't see anything in it regarding the re-definition of marriage.

  5. I worked for Community Health Network and the reason that senior leadership left is because they were not in agreement with the way the hospital was being ran, how employees were being treated, and most of all how the focus on patient care was nothing more than a poster to stand behind. Hiring these analyst to come out and tell people who have done the job for years that it is all being done wrong now...hint, hint, get rid of employees by calling it "restructuring" is a cheap and easy way out of taking ownership. Indiana is an "at-will" state, so there doesn't have to be a "reason" for dismissal of employment. I have seen former employees that went through this process lose their homes, cars, faith...it is very disturbing. The patient's as well have seen less than disireable care. It all comes full circle.

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