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Company news

September 1, 2010

Marian University in Indianapolis has named the founding dean of an Atlanta-area medical school to head up the school for osteopathic doctors it plans to open in 2012. Paul Evans has been dean and chief academic officer for six years of the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine in Suwanee, Ga. In his new position, he will lead efforts by the private Catholic university to establish Indiana's second medical school. Marian officials announced in January plans for the new school that they say could enroll 150 students in the first class. Construction hasn't started on the school. Osteopathic doctors have similar training to traditional physicians, but also are trained in diagnosing and treating musculoskeletal problems.

The Roudebush Veterans Affairs Medical Center and the Indiana Health Information Exchange will now work to make their systems talk to each other in a pilot project spearheaded by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. The department will invite veterans who receive medical care both at Roudebush and at private health care providers around central Indiana to sign up for the pilot. Records for patients who participate could be swapped from the VA providers to the private doctors and hospitals as needed. The Indiana Health Information Exchange provides access to the records of more than 6 million patients through its partnerships with 60 hospitals and the Indianapolis-based Regenstrief Institute Inc., which maintains decades of Indianapolis patient records in a database. The VA hospital in Indianapolis will communicate with the Indiana Health Information Exchange using a new “gateway” set up by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Called the Nationwide Health Information Network, it provides the technical and legal framework to allow patient information to be swapped electronically and securely.

A new report shows Indiana hospitals and ambulatory surgery centers recorded 94 preventable medical errors in 2009, a drop from the 105 mistakes reported in 2008 and 2007, according to the Associated Press. The most common error last year was a foreign object such as a sponge left in a patient after surgery. Indiana's 306 facilities reported that error 29 times. The report released Monday by the Indiana State Department of Health counted 17 instances of surgery performed on the wrong body part. Pressure ulcers, also known as severe bedsores, occurred 22 times—down from 33 the previous year.

WellPoint Inc. finally got its rate hike—five months after the storm. The Indianapolis-based health insurer won approval last week from regulators in California to raise rates on individual policyholders in the state by an average of 14 percent, according to the Associated Press. WellPoint had withdrawn a request for rate hikes averaging 25 percent—and ranging as high as 39 percent—after President Obama spotlighted them and public outrage ensued. The brouhaha has been credited with helping Obama push a stalled health reform law through Congress. An outside actuary hired by California regulators later found math errors in WellPoint’s calculations, which led to WellPoint withdrawing and then requesting the smaller increase.

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