All signs point to University Hospital being shuttered as Indiana University Health goes from three downtown hospitals to two. IU Health leaders decided at least three years ago to close University Hospital on the IUPUI campus and move its operations to Methodist Hospital, according to an internal document obtained by IBJ. The document didn’t set a time line for the closure, and officials didn’t move forward immediately because Methodist lacked sufficient space for the consolidation. University has since cut back on services, and patient counts have fallen by one-third. Now, a committee charged with evaluating the consolidation has put forth the closure of University as a “strong option.” But the IU Health board of directors also is mulling construction of an entirely new downtown hospital in a plan that would replace both University and Methodist. And it’s even possible the board might select both options—merging University into Methodist for several years while it banks cash, then building a hospital to replace Methodist. The board is expected to discuss the plans at its February meeting and possibly take another month or two before making a decision.
Charlotte MacBeth stepped down Friday as CEO of MDwise Inc., the Indianapolis-based provider of Medicaid health benefits and health insurance plans sold on the Obamacare exchange. MacBeth, who led MDwise since 1999, is moving to an undisclosed job in Illinois. Replacing her as interim CEO will be Chief Operating Officer Katherine Wentworth. Under MacBeth’s leadership, MDwise grew from central Indiana to reaching the entire state. It now enrolls more than 320,000 Hoosiers in its health plans. In 2013, she helped the company move into commercial insurance, selling individual health plans on the online exchanges created by the Affordable Care Act. MDwise enrolled roughly 28,000 customers on its exchange plans last year—second in the state only to Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield. MDwise is owned by the Indiana University Health and Eskenazi Health hospital systems.
Indiana legislators have filed three bills this year that would require a physician’s prescription to get access to medicines with pseudoephedrine, a key ingredient in methamphetamines. But Republican leaders say the bills designed to combat Indiana’s problem with meth labs will not be heard, according The Statehouse File. Senate bills 290 and 445 would make pseudoephedrine a controlled substance, which requires a physician’s prescription. House Bill 1390 would allow Hoosiers to buy medicines containing only 9.6 grams of ephedrine or pseudoephedrine per year—down from 61.2 grams now. Obtaining more than that lower limit would require a prescription. In 2013, Indiana had 1,808 meth lab busts, more than any other state, but the number shrank to 1,488 in 2014, according to Indiana State Police. Senate Corrections and Criminal Law Chairman Mike Young, R-Indianapolis, said he plans to have a hearing on a meth-related bill he has authored instead of legislation requiring prescriptions for cold medicines. Young’s legislation—Senate Bill 536—is meant to prevent selling pseudoephedrine-based products to anyone convicted of meth-related crimes.