Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield has added St. Vincent Health to the “narrow network” of health care providers it uses for Obamacare plans. St. Vincent’s 22 hospitals and nearly 900 physicians on June 1 joined the network Anthem uses for individual health plans it sells on the online exchange created by the Affordable Care Act. Before that, the only central Indiana hospital systems that were part of Anthem’s exchange plans were Community Health Network, Eskenazi Health and most of the county-owned hospitals in the Suburban Health Organization. It’s a significant strategy shift for Anthem, which has tried to limit the number of providers in its exchange networks so it could pay them lower fees, betting lowest-priced plans on the exchange would gain the most customers. Anthem requested a discount from St. Vincent, according to Dr. David Lee, Anthem’s vice president for provider engagement, but he declined to say if the insurer actually received a lower price. Jen Dial, a spokeswoman for St. Vincent, also would not say whether the hospital network had discounted prices for Anthem’s Obamacare network. In a written statement, she said St. Vincent decided to join Anthem’s network because being out of it was causing problems for patients.
The federal government will give a full hearing to charges of unfair labor practices leveled at Indiana University Health by nurses trying to organize a union at IU Health’s Methodist Hospital. The decision by the National Labor Relations Board does not mean IU Health has been found to have done anything wrong. But last year, only 38 percent of all unfair labor charges against employers proceeded to this stage, according to data from the NLRB. According to documents filed with the NLRB, the United Steelworkers union claims IU Health broke the law when it fired Lacie Little, a registered nurse who was helping distribute vote cards to other nurses, and when it disciplined Heather Bragg, another nurse leading the union organization. The union also claims IU Health’s managers have improperly questioned nurses about the union. In a written statement provided by spokeswoman Lauren Cislak, IU Health officials dismissed the Steelworkers’ charges as a tactic and a sign of desperation. Cislak also noted that IU Health officials have received reports of union organizers trying to intimidate IU Health employees who speak out against the union and of making surprise visits to nurses’ homes to gain support for a union vote.
Fort Wayne-based Medical Informatics Engineering said its main network and its NoMoreClipboard network were hacked from May 7 until May 26. The exposed information includes names, addresses, birthdates, Social Security numbers and health records, which may have affected the health care providers for which MIE provides its health information exchange services. MIE’s clients include Franciscan St. Francis Health in Indianapolis, Texas-based Concentra, which operates more than 300 medical centers in 38 states, and Rochester Medical Group in the Detroit area. MIE said it is offering credit monitoring and identity protection services to affected individuals, without charge, for the next 24 months. The company also created a toll-free call center at 866-328-1987 to answer questions about the attack and the support and services being provided.
Eli Lilly and Co. has no plans to divest its Elanco Animal Health unit, the company said following an analyst’s question about potential spinoff plans. Lilly’s stock rose 5.4 percent, to $82.77 per share on June 9, its biggest daily increase since March 2009, after Elanco President Jeffrey Simmons was asked if Lilly might one day shed the unit in an initial public offering. “We’ll see, but we are very intentional about a business model that we think works,” Simmons said at an investor conference hosted by Goldman Sachs Group Inc. “And we think the IPO story hasn’t necessarily fully played out; there’s some distraction in that model.” Simmons said the company regularly discusses whether the Elanco unit works better inside or outside Lilly. The animal health business, which makes drugs for livestock and pets, generating sales of $2.35 billion last year, has many of its own plants and systems, and also splits some services with Lilly’s human drug operations.