Company news

March 17, 2014

Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield has signed a new accountable care contract with the Franciscan Alliance hospital system that allows Franciscan to make more money only if it saves money for Anthem. If more doctors and hospitals sign similar deals with Anthem, it would start to end the payment arrangements that are widely blamed for the ever-rising costs in health care. Under the contract, Franciscan is financially accountable for what it spends to care for 63,000 patients its doctors and hospitals treat regularly, who also have Anthem benefits provided via employers or purchased individually. The three-year contract, which begins April 1, involves all 11 of Franciscan’s hospitals around Indiana, including the three it operates in the Indianapolis area. About 300 physicians are also part of the contract. This is the first accountable care organization, or ACO, Anthem has formed in Indiana. Its parent company, Indianapolis-based WellPoint Inc., now has 84 ACOs nationwide. Other health insurers are looking to sign similar arrangements with health care providers. The new deal also will score Franciscan on 38 quality measures. If Franciscan earns enough points for its quality, it will qualify for a year-end bonus.

Biomet Inc. is planning a $40.5 million expansion company officials say would create 150 high-paying jobs at its Warsaw headquarters by 2018. The project by the maker of orthopedic implants calls for building renovations and adding 3-D printing and optical scanning technology. Biomet would also upgrade a center where surgeons interested in introducing a new product, technology or technique can explore the idea with an expert. According to the Journal Gazette, Biomet's global vice president of finance presented the project March 13 to the Kosciusko County Council, which voted unanimously to move the company's request for incentives to the next stage. Paperwork prepared by the company says the jobs the expansion would bring are projected to pay $75,000 a year on average and will be added in stages.

Last-minute lobbying and big promises about jobs and investment killed a nursing home construction moratorium, according to one of the bill’s proponents. “The experience illustrates how quickly things can change behind closed doors,” said Rep. Ed Clere, R-New Albany, on Friday morning. The Indiana House late Thursday night approved House Bill 1391, which, during conference committee negotiations, replaced Senate Bill 173 as the primary vehicle for a nursing home moratorium. The version of HB 1391 that finally went to the House, however, was stripped of any moratorium language because there wasn’t enough support in the House Republican caucus, Clere said. The turn of events is surprising, considering SB 173, which proposed a five-year moratorium, passed the Senate, and a watered-down version with a one-year moratorium passed the House, 55-40. A compromise version with a two-year ban appeared ready for passage on Tuesday. The Indiana Health Care Association and others in the long-term-care industry argued that the moratorium was needed to cut nursing-home vacancy rates and ensure better care for Medicaid patients.

OnTarget Laboratories LLC, a company developing cancer-imaging technology discovered at Purdue University, has raised $15 million to pay for human trials and other development work. The West Lafayette-based company raised the funding from the Pension Fund of the Christian Church, which is based in Indianapolis, and from Tom Hurvis, the founder of Illinois-based Old World Industries LLC, which makes antifreeze and other auto products. Hurvis had previously invested an undisclosed amount into OnTarget. The company’s technology was created by Philip Low, a Purdue chemistry professor who also created the technology behind Endocyte Inc., a West Lafayette-based drug development company that is likely to launch its first drug this year. Low discovered that cancer tumors have a greater number of certain kinds of “receptors” on the surface of their cells. By combining a molecule that binds to these receptors with a fluorescent molecule, OnTarget’s technology can make the cancer cells light up during surgery. The Pension Fund of the Christian Church, which also invested in Endocyte, provides retirement plans to employees of several denominations, including Disciples of Christ and Churches of Christ.