Health Care Costs

Franciscan doubles down on accountable care

July 22, 2013
J.K. Wall
Franciscan St. Francis Health earned a $6.6 million bonus from the Medicare program for its success at keeping central Indiana patients out of the hospital and the emergency room. So the hospital system will expand its participation in so-called accountable care programs to all its Indiana territories.
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State, Anthem ask techies to solve infant mortality

July 15, 2013
J.K. Wall
Dr. Bill VanNess, Indiana’s commissioner of health, asked IT developers to create a smartphone app that the state could offer to pregnant moms to educate them about infant health and help them easily schedule appointments with health care providers.
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WellPoint rolls out program with cost ceilings for procedures

July 15, 2013
J.K. Wall
Under so-called reference-based benefits, insured patients would have to pay the difference between procedure prices and maximums set by their employers. Several Indiana companies are considering using the tactic.
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St. Vincent gives big execs the ax; current job cuts just 'first pass'

July 1, 2013
J.K. Wall
The job cuts at St. Vincent Health last month were so extensive that even two of the hospital system's C-suite executives got the ax. And one local hospital accountant predicts these cuts are just the first pass that St. Vincent—and all of its hospital peers—will have to make.
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St. Vincent Health eliminating about 865 jobs in Indiana

June 28, 2013
J.K. Wall
It was not clear how many workers were losing their jobs in the Indianapolis area. However, people familiar with the cuts said the reductions were heavy in the administrative ranks, and many of those jobs are on the city's north side.
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Obamacare rebates total $22.6M in Indiana

June 24, 2013
J.K. Wall
Indiana consumers are set to receive rebates that are 59 percent larger this year as Obamacare continues to force health insurers to refund premiums that exceed actual medical claims by more than 20 percent.
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Are hospitals on trajectory to pair up?

June 1, 2013
J.K. Wall
Indianapolis-area hospitals are undergoing such profound and permanent changes that some predict, eventually the four major hospital systems will merge and shrink down to two.
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New WellPoint CEO Joe Swedish thrives on complexity

May 25, 2013
J.K. Wall
Joe Swedish, a career hospital executive, is now two months into his job at the helm of Indianapolis-based WellPoint, the nation’s second-largest health insurer. In his first interview since starting work, Swedish indicated he’s taking his time to learn the people and the culture of the vast organization he now leads.
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Forecast: Cash to reign in health care

May 20, 2013
J.K. Wall
With premiums for health insurance likely to head north next year as President Obama’s health care reform law fully takes effect, both individuals and employers will pay for more health care out of their own funds and buy less insurance.
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Study rebuts hospitals' argument on Medicare, rising costs

May 13, 2013
Rather than raising prices on private health insurers to make up for inadequate payments from the government, hospitals across the country have been raising prices just because they can, according to a new study.
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Medical finance driving major changes in health care marketplace

April 6, 2013
J.K. Wall
Brian and Emily Kahn had virtually identical physical therapy. He paid much more than she did. Why? Because of where the therapy took place.
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IU Health to chop $1 billion off costsRestricted Content

April 6, 2013
J.K. Wall
Even though Obamacare likely will expand health insurance coverage to an extra 500,000 Hoosiers over the next few years, IU Health expects per-patient reimbursements to fall as the federal government, employers and patients all push back on sky-high health care costs.
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MCDONALD: Groups making headway attacking health problemsRestricted Content

April 6, 2013
Bob McDonald
The statistics we hear so often are clear. As a community, we are not in an enviable place. We smoke more, exercise less and weigh more than the national average, resulting in more diabetes than average.
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Indiana's health care transparency laws get failing grade

April 1, 2013
J.K. Wall
Indiana’s laws requiring hospitals to release price information are woefully inadequate, according to a report by two health insurance reform groups. Indiana was among 29 states to receive an "F" grade.
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Senate advances telemedicine payments

March 4, 2013
J.K. Wall
The Indiana Senate voted unanimously last week to require the Indiana Medicaid program to pay home health agencies, rural health clinics and federally qualified health centers for doing medical consultations, diagnoses and monitoring using videoconferencing, telephones or computers.
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Sequester could sap $200M from Indiana health care providers

March 1, 2013
J.K. Wall
The sequestration plan kicking in Friday will chop Medicare payments to hospitals, doctors and nursing homes by 2 percent, beginning April 1. One study estimates that the cuts could result in 10,000-plus job losses in Indiana alone.
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Legislators struggle to nail down cost of health care expansion

February 24, 2013
Associated Press
The cost of health care for an additional 400,000 low income residents is something nobody in the Indiana Statehouse seems to be able to agree upon this year, even as the crucial decision about whether to expand Medicaid bears down on lawmakers midway through their annual session.
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WellPoint shares tumble on surprising CEO hire

February 13, 2013
J.K. Wall
The Indianapolis-based health insurer saw its stock tumble as much as 4.8 percent Wednesday morning after it unexpectedly named career hospital executive Joe Swedish to be its next CEO.
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Q&A

February 11, 2013
J.K. Wall

Don Kelso is executive director of the Indiana Rural Health Association. The trade group is trying to help its members navigate the changes coming from health care reform and the financial pressures being created by federal budget cuts. The association recently launched a service for its members called SuiteStats, which is data-management software to help hospital executives identify areas ripe for cost-cutting.

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Pressure rises on lawmakers to expand Medicaid

February 11, 2013
J.K. Wall

Up until now, Gov. Mike Pence and his fellow Republicans in the Legislature have been playing a game of poker with the Obama administration over a potential expansion of Indiana’s Medicaid program. But all of a sudden, Indiana’s hand just got quite a bit weaker.

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Community taps Walgreens for health reform help

February 4, 2013
J.K. Wall
In the era of health care reform, hospitals will face two new challenges: They will need to run higher-volume, lower-margin businesses, and they’ll be on the hook financially for what patients do even when they’re not receiving health care. Community Health Network’s new partnership with Walgreens’ Take Care Clinics is designed to help address both issues.
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Health insurance changes daunting for Indiana employersRestricted Content

January 19, 2013
Scott Olson
A portion of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act requiring companies in 2014 to begin offering health insurance to more workers is causing a lot of anxiety.
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Anthem pulling out of Quality Health First

January 14, 2013
J.K. Wall
Since 2009, Indianapolis-based Anthem has doled out $14.5 million in bonuses to physicians based on their scores in quality reports generated by Quality Health First.
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Franciscan, American Health join new ACOs

January 14, 2013
J.K. Wall
Franciscan St. Francis Health and American Health Network continue to get deeper into the accountable care organization concept being promoted by the federal Medicare program under the 2010 health reform law.
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Fiscal cliff deal threatens Indiana co-op health plan

January 7, 2013
J.K. Wall
Last week’s fiscal cliff bargain in Congress dealt a potentially fatal blow to a new health insurance plan, called Remedy Indiana, that was set to launch this year.
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