Company news

January 13, 2010

Roche Diagnostics Corp. named a new CEO Tuesday for its North American operations, which are headquartered in Indianapolis. Jack Phillips, currently head of commercial operations for North America and Japan at Roche subsidiary Ventana Medical Systems, takes the reins from Michael Tillmann, who resigned on Friday. Tillmann had been in the job 18 months, but Roche continued to lose market share in its diabetes business. Phillips is the third North American CEO for Roche Diagnostics in less than two years.

Republican U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar requested Indiana’s attorney general to conduct a legal analysis of the Senate health insurance proposal, according to the Associated Press. Attorney General Greg Zoeller will examine the constitutionality of parts of the federal health care bill, including the so-called Nebraska compromise that would give Nebraska funding for expanded Medicaid obligations. Indiana law gives the attorney general authority to review proposed federal legislation for any of the state's U.S. senators or representatives. Zoeller said he'll provide a report to Indiana's congressional delegation by the time Congress starts House-Senate conference committee negotiations.

The long-term impact of health care reform is uncertain, but many analysts are expecting big health insurers like Indianapolis-based WellPoint Inc. to benefit in 2010, according to the Associated Press. WellPoint, which insures more Americans than any of its peers, has seen its stock price surge 10 percent in 2010. "As the health care reform debate diminishes, we believe investors will continue their recent return to managed care stocks in the first half of 2010 with a large-cap bias," Thomas Carroll, an analyst at Stifel Nicolaus & Co., told investors.

Witham Health Services wants Boone County officials to support a $35 million bond issue that the Lebanon-based hospital said could save it millions in interest payments. Witham wants to use about $21 million to refinance a 95,000-square-foot medical office building in Lebanon that it opened in September. Interest rates on bonds are lower now than when Witham began that project in mid-2007. Witham would use the rest of the money, about $15 million, to purchase land in the Anson development near Zionsville, on which Witham opened a free-standing emergency room in October. The 43,000-square-foot structure features cutting-edge imaging equipment for open-sided magnetic-resonance imaging exams and high-resolution CT scans. It also includes office space for family and specialist physicians.

The City of Evansville hired New York-based Meritain Health to manage its self-funded insurance plan. The new city health plan will feature the Welborn Health Plan’s Dual Option Product, which gives members access to both Deaconess and St. Mary’s hospitals, instead of only one as before. Meritain Health administers health plans for more than 80,000 members in the greater Evansville tri-state area.