Health Care

Experts: Building boom not over: Big projects wind down, but new ones fill pipelineRestricted Content

September 8, 2008
Scott Olson
The completion of $2 billion in city construction projects has left a gaping hole in contractor job schedules-as wide as when the roof opens at Lucas Oil Stadium. Even so, industry leaders remain optimistic about staying busy despite the combination of a tepid economy and the end of a local boom that stretched the limits of the labor pool. The $1.1 billion airport midfield terminal project, the $715 million stadium and $150 million Central Library expansion helped to create so...
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Doc pay-for-performance program set to launch: Quality Health First signs up Anthem, 700 doctorsRestricted Content

September 1, 2008
J.K. Wall
After four years of development, a payfor-performance plan for Indianapolisarea doctors will officially launch Oct. 1. Quality Health First, the latest service of the Indiana Health Information Exchange, now has 700 primary-care doctors signed up to receive its reports on the quality of the care they give. And perhaps even more important, the program has contracted with Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Indiana as the first health insurer to offer bonus payments to doctors based on how well...
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Indiana auto insurance rates show uptick, report says: Despite rise, state still among cheapest in nationRestricted Content

August 25, 2008
Scott Olson
Auto insurance rates are climbing nationally, led by increases in Indiana that topped all other states, according to a report released last month by Insurance.com. The online auto insurance agency said the lowest car insurance quotes, on average, jumped 3.4 percent, to $1,893 per year, from the first quarter to the second. Rate increases in Indiana nearly doubled the national average, rising 6.7 percent, or $94, to $1,501. Arkansas and Rhode Island followed, with 6.1-percent and 5-percent spikes, respectively. Sam...
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Ex-WellPoint VP sues, says he was axed for testifying in drug caseRestricted Content

August 18, 2008
J.K. Wall

WellPoint Inc. prides itself on working to hold down the rising cost of health care. But to hear one of its former vice presidents tell it, the company retaliated against him when he worked to do just that. In a lawsuit against WellPoint, Dr. Randy Axelrod claims his former employer forced him out when he tried to curtail a drugmaker's controversial pricing strategy that was costing WellPoint money.


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Creating opportunities in tough times: Tightening economy requires 'patchworking' sources of incomeRestricted Content

August 11, 2008
Della Pacheco
Women aren't leaving the work force to stay home with their kids-they're being forced out in equal numbers with men. That's the word from "Equality in Job Loss: Women are Increasingly Vulnerable to Layoffs During Recessions," a congressional report released July 21. Often women who face job losses decide to forego the job hunt and opt instead for selfemployment, the report said. Might this job downturn trigger a boom in entrepreneurship for women? Not if they don't already have the...
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VOICES FROM THE INDUSTRY: Genetic info act will do more than stop discriminationRestricted Content

August 11, 2008
Dave C.
The promise of personalized medicine-genetic tests that allow more informed and individualized health care decisions-has been blocked in recent times as patients struggle with the fear that those same genetic test results could bring genetic discrimination in the form of cancelled health insurance coverage or even the catastrophe of job loss. In 1997, Indiana enacted a state law protecting genetic screening or testing and prohibiting health insurers from considering any information obtained from such testing in a manner adverse to...
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WellPoint expected to look for growth overseasRestricted Content

July 28, 2008
J.K. Wall
WellPoint Inc., the most dominant health insurer in the United States, registers as barely a pipsqueak in the rest of the world. But it's only a matter of time, say industry experts, before WellPoint plunges into foreign markets to grow sales of its health benefits and services.
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Doctors put records in patients' pockets:Restricted Content

July 21, 2008
Scott Olson
Arming patients with portable electronic medical records that physicians can access during emergencies is becoming more prevalent among health care providers. The Heart Center of Indiana in Carmel, a partnership between St. Vincent Health and The Care Group Inc., the state's largest cardiology group, recently started the practice. Community Health Network and Dr. Tim Story, who chairs the largest group of physicians at Clarian North Medical Center, are among others who have rolled out portable records systems. The health information...
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Community tries to keep up with diverse patient base: Hospital's new system improves cultural understandingRestricted Content

July 21, 2008
Katie Maurer
It takes years of research for an anthropologist to understand another culture, but doctors and nurses don't have that much time. With the growing diversity of people receiving health care in the United States, a patient's cultural background is often ignored or misunderstood by care givers. That can make for a less-than-positive hospital stay or doctor visit or, in rare cases, a catastrophic medical mistake. To avoid any such pitfalls, Community Health Network has implemented Culture Vision, an Internet-based program...
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Accountants predicting even more physician hookups: Katz Sapper, Heaton and Eadie join forces to keep up with fast-changing health care, benefits landscapeRestricted Content

July 21, 2008
J.K. Wall
Everybody's doing it. So Heaton and Eadie and Katz, Sapper & Miller decided to get together, too. Katz Sapper announced last week that it will acquire Heaton and Eadie because both Indianapolis-based accounting firms expect their main health care clients-physicians-to link up more and more with one another and with hospitals in the next five years. They want the heft and experience to win the right to handle finance and consulting on more of those transactions. Katz Sapper gets Heaton...
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New president shakes up nursing home group: Three quarters of staff leaves within months of arrivalRestricted Content

July 21, 2008
J.K. Wall
Steve Smith has shaken up the Indiana Health Care Association so much, the group representing Indiana's for-profit nursing homes is hardly recognizable to those who knew it before. And the way Smith tells it, he's just getting started.
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Commentary: Indianapolis deserves safer waterRestricted Content

July 14, 2008
Brian Williams
A recent Associated Press study of 62 major waterproviders across the country, including Indianapolis, found that nearly all their water had pharmaceutical product or indicators of pharmaceutical product in their water supply. P h a r m a c e u t i c a l products included antibiotics, anti-convulsants, mood stabilizers and sex hormones. The same AP study investigated watersheds and aquifers, large numbers of which were found to contain pharmaceuticals and other contaminants. Another national study of 139...
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Major moves to keep more patients on home turf: Hospital hires two ortho surgeons, changes nameRestricted Content

July 7, 2008
J.K. Wall
Nearly three-quarters of orthopedics patients in Shelby County have gone to an Indianapolis hospital to receive care. Now, Major Hospital in Shelbyville wants to keep more of those patients at home. By next June, the hospital will build a $7 million orthopedics center that will house two orthopedic surgeons. They will begin building their practices in Shelbyville next month. The play for orthopedics patients throws Major into a pitched battle among Indianapolis-area hospitals. Surging numbers of patients need new hips...
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IU program aims to turn lab rats into leaders: Business training is tailor-made for scientistsRestricted Content

July 7, 2008
J.K. Wall
Andrea Walker is a chemist with management aspirations. But instead of signing up for a traditional MBA program, the team manager at Indianapolis-based AIT Laboratories will enroll this year in a slimmed-down business program that focuses on the life sciences. The program, called the Kelley Executive Certificate in the Business of Life Sciences, is a new creation of Indiana University's Kelley School of Business. The program will conduct most of its classes online over a one-year period. The courses will...
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ECONOMIC ANALYSIS Mike Hicks: What it takes to make our health care system healthyRestricted Content

June 30, 2008
The U.S. health care policy debate has been strangely quiet the past few months. But the underlying problems grow ever more serious. Here's some background. First, health care costs are rising rapidly. A huge amount of the increase stems from greater demand for the most costly services. These services include advanced end-of-life care, much more extensive neonatal care, and high-end elective surgery. Higher use of these services represents perhaps the largest single contributor to overall health care costs. Second, we...
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Community dips toe into social networking: Hospital encourages patients to create blogsRestricted Content

June 30, 2008
J.K. Wall
Facebook and MySpace have harnessed the Internet to revolutionize how Americans keep in touch. Could providers of health care do the same? Indianapolis-based Community Health Network is trying to find out. It has opened its Web site to allow its patients to create their own MySpace-like pages to keep their family and friends informed about their treatment or about their new baby. Community's Web site also hosts discussion forums for various groups of patients, such as new moms, cancer patients,...
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Biotech database gives G&S high hopes: Firm sees more demand for grant-award researchRestricted Content

June 23, 2008
Scott Olson
By conducting market research for some of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world, locally based G&S Research Inc. has grown into a $10 million firm. But founders have even higher expectations for their G&S Discovery division, which was formed two years ago. Its flagship product, Navigrant, provides a database of government grant awards for national biomedical research. The total market worldwide for life sciences research is estimated at $45 billion. Navigrant has compiled information on 450,000 awards from 60...
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Butler's pharmacy addition just what the doctor ordered: New $14M building will help college meet increasing demand for graduatesRestricted Content

June 23, 2008
Scott Olson
Mary Andritz, dean of Butler University's College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, bursts into laughter when asked how long her department's been short on space. "I've only been here for two years, but I think it's been for some considerable amount of time," she guessed. "Probably for 10 years." Lilly Endowment Inc., however, is filling the prescription in the form of a grant to fund a 40,000-square-foot addition under construction and scheduled to open by the fall 2009 semester. The...
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Community Health CEO Corley preparing for 'something different'Restricted Content

June 16, 2008
J.K. Wall
This month, 65-year-old Bill Corley gave his 18 months' notice that he will be retiring as CEO of Community Health Network, the third-largest hospital network based in Indianapolis. Perhaps Community's board of directors needed so much time to replace a man who has held his post so long-nearly 25 years. When Corley arrived in 1984, Community consisted of just one hospital on Indianapolis' east side. Today, it has five.
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VOICES FROM THE INDUSTRY: Remember the consumer in 'consumer-driven' plansRestricted Content

June 9, 2008
Bryan K.
While many businesses have made the phrase "consumerdirected health care" a standard part of benefits conversations, too many have failed to do the one thing that will make this approach successful: treat employees like consumers. Instead, employers have "communicat ed" this new benefit trend the same old way, with jargon-laced handouts, uninformative brochures and dry presentations. No wonder all employees aren't embracing consumer-directed health care. Researchers wouldn't be surprised by employees' slow adoption. Studies show that employees typically are more...
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Officials turn up call for 2-year degrees: State putting emphasis on higher education optionsRestricted Content

June 9, 2008
Tracy Donhardt
State and local leaders are turning up the amp on the importance of higher education, but they're also trying to tune students into the message that being college-educated doesn't have to mean spending four years at a university. In recent weeks, both Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard and Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels have loudly proclaimed the state's need for more workers with twoyear degrees. While government officials have long said the state needs a more educated work force to attract business,...
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IPIC's BioWorksU virtual effort wins acclaim:Restricted Content

June 9, 2008
Scott Olson
A new Web site developed locally and designed to attract youngsters to careers in the life sciences sector now shares something in common with the wildly popular Club Penguin site. The Indianapolis Private Industry Council, with assistance from locally based Creative Street Media Group, created BioWorksU.com. And while more educational and likely more appealing to a larger age group than Club Penguin, the two were among recent Webby Awards finalists. Called the "Oscars of the Internet" by The New York...
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Commentary: HealthNet casts a wide oneRestricted Content

June 9, 2008
Chris Katterjohn
Indianapolis is becoming a much more international city. Consider some of the facts: Central Indiana's Latino population is now 100,000, fifth-fastest-growing in the United States; one in five scientists at Eli Lilly is Chinese; and 2,000 Burmese immigrants live here. These tidbits and mounds of other information about immigration in our community can be found in the International Center's coffee-table book, "New Faces at the Crossroads: The World in Central Indiana." The book also contains the stories and beautiful photographs...
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Local mental health centers caught in funding limbo: Federal effort to shift costs to states on hold, but not-for-profits' budgets for next year must be completed nowRestricted Content

June 9, 2008
Jennifer Whitson
At Indianapolis-based Adult and Child Mental Health Center Inc., Executive Director Bob Dunbar has developed a contingency plan as he works on the agency's $25 million budget for next year. He has two versions of a spending plan for the center, which provides mental health services for 4,200 children and adults a year. One includes moderate cuts tied to state funding changes, and the other deals with massive cuts pushed by the federal government. In the worst-case scenario, as much...
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Benicorp cleanup praised: Customers, employees ease through liquidationRestricted Content

June 2, 2008
J.K. Wall
When cash ran dry last summer at Indianapolis-based Benicorp Insurance Co., it could have created a major mess. But 10 months later, Indiana insurance regulators have kept all of Benicorp's customers covered by health insurance and given its employees a soft landing as they make the transition to new jobs. The last of a backlog of claims has been paid off. "No family in Indiana will have an uncovered claim," said Jim Atterholt, the Indiana commissioner of insurance. "That's a...
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