Health Care

In a race for robotics: Crash doesn't quell Jones' hope of building new industryRestricted Content

October 17, 2005
Peter Schnitzler
One day in the not-so-distant future, robot drones will drive the military's supply vehicles through dangerous war zones. They'll pilot tractors across farm fields and steer plows as they scrape snowy highways. Automatic cars will even whisk you to and from work. High-tech entrepreneur Scott Jones, 44, believes with a zealot's fervor this all will happen. More than a gee-whiz observer, the man who helped invent voice mail hopes to establish a robotic vehicle business-and ultimately the robotic vehicle industry-in...
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Premiums continue to climb: Rate increases may dip, but not by very muchRestricted Content

October 17, 2005
Tracy Donhardtreporter
After four years of double-digit rate hikes, average health care insurance premiums rose less than 10 percent in 2005. And they're expected to rise less than 10 percent again in 2006, according to several national surveys. But excuse employers if they don't get excited about the trend. They are still faced with having to pay much higher prices or trimming benefits-or both. Health care insurance premiums this year increased 9.2 percent, a 2-percent drop in the average increase from the...
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Hancock explores 'mean, lean operating room machine': Hospital officials believe time is right for surgery centerRestricted Content

October 10, 2005
Tom Murphy
Hancock Regional Hospital has dusted off plans to build an outpatient surgery center with some of its doctors, and it may turn for help to a business run by the competition. The Greenfield hospital has talked with Visionary Enterprises Inc., a for-profit subsidiary of Community Health Network; and another Indianapolis company, Russell Associates LLC, about forming a partnership to build the center. Hancock Regional executive Rob Matt called the discussions preliminary but said officials hope to pick a partner by...
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Pumping out healthy profits: Stand-alone heart hospitals now bustling, earning millions after overcoming slow startsRestricted Content

October 10, 2005
Tom Murphy
Business heated up so fast for The Heart Center of Indiana last winter that it averaged 103-percent occupancy for an entire month. That meant the Carmel hospital often had to hold patients in an emergency room or short-stay location until space opened for them, Heart Center CEO John Stewart said. "We literally, multiple times, had to refuse [patient] transfers," said Stewart, whose hospital is spending $4 million to add 20 beds that should be ready for patients next month. After...
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Free market is best hope for health care:Restricted Content

October 10, 2005
Clearly, the U.S. health care system has its share of problems. Costs are rising rapidly, some 45 million Americans are without health insurance, and both doctors and patients decry their loss of options and control. But, would a government-run health care system be any better? Single-payer health care systems have been proposed in a handful of states as the solution to the problem of access for the uninsured. While single-payer plans can offer all citizens some type of health insurance...
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Bob Wilson & Associates Inc.: Consultant helps companies predict workers' potential Personality test provides key information to guide businesses' personnel decisionsRestricted Content

October 10, 2005
Jo Ellen
Personality test provides key information to guide businesses' personnel decisions It may not be fortunetelling, but the Predictive Index gives important clues about an individual's success or failure in certain jobs. In Indiana, Michigan and Ohio, the trademarked personality test is licensed to Bob Wilson & Associates Inc., a Carmel consulting firm that works with more than 200 companies, helping with hiring, retaining, managing and motivating employees. The firm also works with corporations on strategy and other management services. Wilson,...
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Speaking of health care: Local experts weigh in on rising costs, the uninsured and whether our current system needs an overhaul Public health priorities, executive salaries and the "gold rush" of health care construction were among the topics tackled SeptRestricted Content

October 3, 2005
Public health priorities, executive salaries and the "gold rush" of health care construction were among the topics tackled Sept. 21 in the latest installment of Indianapolis Business Journal's Power Breakfast Series. IBJ reporter Tom Murphy moderated the panel discussion, attended by some of the area's foremost health care experts. Following is an edited transcript of the often-spirited discussion, which included a brief interruption by protestors seeking medical insurance coverage for janitorial staff who clean Anthem Inc. buildings. IBJ: Can you...
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Insurer may be low on targets: WellPoint's latest megadeal could be last for a whileRestricted Content

October 3, 2005
Tom Murphy
A lack of available targets may steer Well-Point Inc. away from its diet of multibilliondollar acquisitions after it digests the latest purchase, New York-based Blue Cross/Blue Shield insurer WellChoice Inc. That, in turn, might slow the company's frenetic growth rate, according to analysts who follow the health insurance industry. Blockbuster deals like the $20.8 billion merger that created WellPoint last year swelled the health insurer into the biggest player in its industry. In 2004, it reported a $960 million profit,...
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WellPoint company slapped over Medicare: AdminaStar Federal agrees to pay $6 million to resolve old fraud allegationsRestricted Content

October 3, 2005
Tom Murphy
A WellPoint Inc. subsidiary has agreed to pay $6 million to the federal government to resolve whistleblower accusations of rampant Medicare fraud over a seven-year span in the 1990s. AdminaStar Federal altered claims information, overcharged the government, and even hung up on customers to reduce call times and improve evaluations, according to civil lawsuits filed by several whistleblowers in 1999 and 2000 in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Kentucky. The Indianapolis-based company administers and processes Medicare claims...
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Coalition targets disparities in minority health care: Group enlists CEOs to help it develop plan of actionRestricted Content

October 3, 2005
Scott Olson
Black people are nearly twice as likely to have diabetes than white people, less likely to engage in leisure activity and, on average, die five years earlier. Those statistics from the Centers for Disease Control provide motivation for a local consortium that wants to improve health care for minorities. Known as the CEO Health Disparities Roundtable, the year-old group has moved from setting objectives to developing a plan of action. The plan is aimed at reducing health care disparities among...
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M-Plan might be ready to deal: State's No. 2 health insurer talks merger with Ohio firmRestricted Content

October 3, 2005
Tom Murphy
M-Plan Inc., Indiana's second-largest health insurer, has entered preliminary talks that could lead to a merger with Ohio's oldest medical insurer. A source familiar with the discussions said they have centered on merging M-Plan's Indianapolisbased parent, The HealthCare Group LLC, with Cleveland-based Medical Mutual of Ohio. The source, who asked not to be identified, said Medical Mutual would end up with the majority stake. M-Plan, a nearly 20-year-old insurer owned partly by the city's Clarian and Community hospital systems, would...
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CHRIS KATTERJOHN Commentary: Health care close to implosion?Restricted Content

October 3, 2005
The rash of specialty-hospital construction in the suburbs is a gold rush, driven more by greed than the desire to satisfy an unmet need. The fact that 45 million people in America are without health insurance is a deplorable national disaster. The best way to use America's health care system is to not get sick. These aren't the rants of a deranged publisher. These are comments made by a doctor and a pair of health care executives who were panelists...
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Flexible spending extension expected to be little-used: Planners say total elimination of use-it-or-lose it rule would increase participation, make plans more usefulRestricted Content

September 26, 2005
Tracy Donhardtreporter
A new Internal Revenue Service rule relaxes the "use it or lose it" rule in flexible spending accounts by extending the period during which expenses may be incurred beyond the end of the plan year. Health care flexible spending accounts allow participants to set aside at the beginning of the year a predetermined amount of pretax money to be used for medical, dental and vision expenses not covered by insurance. Dependent care spending accounts do the same thing for child...
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Building boom out of hand?: Critics say hospital construction boosting health care costsRestricted Content

September 26, 2005
Tom Murphy
The network has launched a growth spurt that will take it into new markets, boost technology and strengthen Riley Hospital for Children all over the next few years. This construction also will pile on to the cost of health care, according to several researchers and health care experts. How that trickles down to the average patient bill, or if it does, remains to be seen. Consultant Edmund Abel has to think back more than 20 years to recall a capital...
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How Clarian funds building projects:Restricted Content

September 26, 2005
- Tom
Clarian Health Partners CEO Dan Evans offers a simple explanation for how the People Mover, Clarian's futuristic rail system, came to be a few years ago. "People ask me all the time how we paid for it. I said, 'Thank the stock market,'" he said. The bull market of the late 1990s allowed Clarian to use mostly investment income to fund the $40 million transportation project that opened in 2003 and connects its three downtown hospitals: Methodist, IU and Riley...
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Aquarium lessons carry hope for spinal-cord patients:Restricted Content

September 19, 2005
-Scott Olson
Purdue University researcher Richard Borgens developed a fascination with nerve regeneration during childhood, when he watched the newts in his father's aquarium regrow legs bitten off by fish. Today, he's developing nerve-regeneration methods that may prove instrumental in treating spinal-cord injuries. Borgens directs Purdue's Center for Paralysis Research and is the founder of Andara Life Sciences Inc., a startup whose treatments are showing promise in clinical trials. One of Borgens' therapies involves the patented oscillating field stimulator device, which stimulates...
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Proposal aimed at curbing medical mishaps: Indiana hospitals, surgery centers may have to start submitting data on serious errors by the first of the yearRestricted Content

September 19, 2005
Tom Murphy
The state health department wants to spotlight serious medical errors in hopes the scrutiny will reduce the likelihood of future mishaps. The department's Indiana Hospital Council recommended last month that it start requiring hospitals and ambulatory surgery centers to disclose 27 severe problems-also called "never events"- within 15 days of their discovery. The list of those events, which was devised a few years ago by the not-forprofit National Quality Forum, includes surgeries performed on the wrong body part or the...
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Don't turn back on local needs: United Way deserves support as much as hurricane victimsRestricted Content

September 19, 2005
How do you compete with Hurricane Katrina? For three weeks, we have been inundated by images of suffering and devastation on the Gulf Coast. In the midst of it all, United Way of Central Indiana has struggled to attract attention to the kickoff of its annual campaign. It's a tough sell, just as it was four years ago when another horrific event-the 9/11 terrorist attacks-coincided with the campaign kickoff. "It took the fund-raising community about three years to recover from...
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Opportunity ... .. or Albatross?: Winona bankruptcy creditors move toward sheriff's saleRestricted Content

September 19, 2005
Tom Murphy
A sheriff's sale to the highest bidder may be the fate of the once-bustling Winona Memorial Hospital. Bankruptcy creditors, frustrated that they haven't found a buyer for the vacant near-northside property, plan to seek a foreclosure that clears the way for public auctions of the hospital and an adjacent nursing home. A sale and renovation of the properties could boost the neighborhood surrounding Winona, a part of town that has struggled but is riding a wave of good news the...
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Formula freebies create controversy: Medical profession encounters gray area when it accepts samplesRestricted Content

September 12, 2005
Tom Murphy
The free mouse pads and pens that popped up every time a baby formula salesman visited Indiana University Hospital annoyed Marsha Glass, a former lactation consultant there. However, the cases of baby formula-left not for newborn mothers but for nurses on her floor who had babies at home-prompted her to take action. Giving formula to nurses, she said, went way beyond the $75 limit set for such gifts by Clarian Health Partners, the hospital network that includes IU. Glass complained...
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ECONOMIC ANALYSIS: Rising health care costs killing jobs and incomeRestricted Content

September 5, 2005
Patrick Barkey
Most of us have been in a doctor's office, and many of us have had conditions that require treatment. But few of us are likely to hear any information presented on the cost of different treatment options along with their benefits, especially if we are one of the 170 million people covered by employer- or governmentprovided health insurance. It is an amazing fact that nearly $3 trillion of health care goods and services are ordered off a menu that has...
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Staffing agency seeks bankruptcy protection: Morley Group begins reorganizing $5.3 million debtRestricted Content

September 5, 2005
Scott Olson
The 13-year-old staffing agency already owes the bank $1.94 million-a $1.17 million loan used to construct its headquarters and about $768,000 for operating expenses. President Michael Morley blamed poor economic conditions for the filing. He said the company hopes to emerge from bankruptcy quickly. "Our business is just now starting to come back and increase," he said. "We're going to be able to straighten this out. We're not taking this lightly." Other debts listed in the bankruptcy filing include a...
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BEHIND THE NEWS: Here's a Blues performance that won't get you downRestricted Content

September 5, 2005
Greg Andrews
Anthem Inc.'s $1.9 billion initial public offering in late 2001 set all kinds of records. It was the biggest IPO for a U.S. health care company ever, and the biggest IPO for a Hoosier company of any kind. But that company, now known as WellPoint Inc., was puny compared with its size today. Then, it had a market value of $3.9 billion; now, thanks to acquisitions and a surging stock price, it's worth $45 billion. WellPoint shares were trading last...
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Insurers thinking younger: Healthy, uninsured and 20? WellPoint, Golden Rule, others would like to sell you a policyRestricted Content

August 29, 2005
Tracy Donhardtreporter
WellPoint Inc. and other insurers think they've found a hot new market-offering high-deductible individual health insurance policies to uninsured people who are young and healthy. It's a market insurers historically may have overlooked, based on the misconception that uninsured people are poor and in bad health, said Dana McMurtry, vice president of health policy and analysis at WellPoint. Nationally, more than half the 45 million uninsured earn more than $25,000 a year and more than one-quarter top $50,000 annually, according...
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EYE ON THE PIE: How home buyers step off a cliffRestricted Content

August 29, 2005
Morton Marcus
Why does Indiana have such high bankruptcy and mortgage foreclosure rates? No one knows. Many say the economy in Indiana has been responsible for our troubles, but other states have been hit as hard and not had the same bankruptcy and foreclosure problems. Perhaps we are a state of dreamers, people who want to own a home but do not understand the obligations we assume. Our dreams are encouraged by the federal government, which allows mortgage interest and property tax...
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