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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.

IBJ: What disadvantages do rural health care providers have now compared with their larger peers in urban areas?
 
A: Reimbursement for hospitals is changing. I think SuiteStats is a fairly good tool as we move to that end. iVantage [the Maine-based company that makes the software], they take the general ledger for the hospitals that they’re working from and download it, so the hospital leadership can look at their data and they can call up a code. Like pneumonia. They can look at a lot of data so they can know the total it took to take care of you and break it down by the various components. Then it compares your hospital to other hospitals that are like you. As you look at these cost data, it points out quality issues. With physicians, it’s hard to make them change, but they do respond to data.
 
IBJ: Is this a way to help them stay independent?
 
A: That, and also the local economics. I live in Washington [where Daviess Community Hospital is located]. If this hospital fails or, for the most part goes away, it’s just going to kill this community financially. Because it’s probably $30 million to $40 million just in payroll. Plus the brain drain. The physicians, they’re some of the most analytical in the community, and they sit on boards and community organizations. If I live here, I may have to go to Bloomington or Evansville to get my appendix taken out.
 
IBJ: In the past five years, many rural hospitals have merged with larger systems because of financial pressures. Do you foresee that merger trend continuing?

A: The larger systems are less likely now to take on these failing rural hospitals, because it’s adding up on their balance sheets. I’m seeing less interest in takeovers now by larger hospitals.

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  1. The east side does have potential...and I have always thought Washington Scare should become an outlet mall. Anyone remember how popular Eastgate was? Well, Indy has no outlet malls, we have to go to Edinburgh for the deep discounts and I don't understand why. Jim is right. We need a few good eastsiders interested in actually making some noise and trying to change the commerce, culture and stereotypes of the East side. Irvington is very progressive and making great strides, why can't the far east side ride on their coat tails to make some changes?

  2. Boston.com has an article from 2010 where they talk about how Interactions moved to Massachusetts in the year prior. http://www.boston.com/business/technology/innoeco/2010/07/interactions_banks_63_million.html The article includes a link back to that Inside Indiana Business press release I linked to earlier, snarkily noting, "Guess this 2006 plan to create 200-plus new jobs in Indiana didn't exactly work out."

  3. I live on the east side and I have read all your comments. a local paper just did an article on Washington square mall with just as many comments and concerns. I am not sure if they are still around, but there was an east side coalition with good intentions to do good things on the east side. And there is a facebook post that called my eastside indy with many old members of the eastside who voice concerns about the east side of the city. We need to come together and not just complain and moan, but come up with actual concrete solutions, because what Dal said is very very true- the eastside could be a goldmine in the right hands. But if anyone is going damn, and change things, it is us eastside residents

  4. Please go back re-read your economics text book and the fine print on the February 2014 CBO report. A minimum wage increase has never resulted in a net job loss...

  5. The GOP at the Statehouse is more interested in PR to keep their majority, than using it to get anything good actually done. The State continues its downward spiral.

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