Articles

BULLS & BEARS: How managing investments works from the top down

Another variation of the asset allocation and diversification theme that is common on Wall Street is what’s called a “topdown” investment strategy to manage a portfolio. Investors who practice this sort of money management are generally more concerned with the economic outlook and its effect on various “market sectors” than the business fundamentals of a particular company. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index is the most commonly used measuring stick for the investment performance of many mutual funds and money…

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Shining the spotlight on state’s hospital care: Governor asks state Department of Health for a statewide sytem to report medical errors and quality

“You know more about the pizza you buy than the doctor you use,” the Clarian Health Partners CEO said recently. Evans likes talking pizza when he gives speeches about health care quality. He takes his comparison a step further when he explains how hospitals benefit by adding transparency. “If your business is transparent, that is your customer knows you use fresh pepperoni on your pizza and the guy across the street uses frozen pepperoni, the customer’s going to come to…

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Head of IT firm ensures company primed for growth: She started business to offer customized training but altered her strategy as circumstances changed Strategic decisions “She almost vibrates” Female support

Kathy Carrier’s dad was angry when she left a lucrative job at a Fortune 500 company to start her own firm. But four years later, when she won an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award, he told his daughter: “Clearly your vision for yourself was greater than the one I had for you.” In less than seven years, Carrier, 46, has built her Fort Wayne-based information technology writing and training firm, Briljent LLC, into a business with annual…

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European firm plants local roots in patient technology: Company to start Indianapolis operation after test

A British company has picked Methodist Hospital and Indianapolis as the birthing ground for a new way to monitor patients using technology inspired by jet engines. Oxford BioSignals Ltd. hopes to roll out its BioSign technology by the end of this year, but the Rolls-Royce partner won’t leave the city after testing ends. The company also plans to start business operations here, much to the delight of those nurturing the life sciences industry. BioSignals will begin testing its BioSign product…

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Employers target obesity through wellness programs: Overweight workers contribute to higher health costs

Companies enjoy seeing an increase in their bottom line as a reflection of positive growth. They don’t, however, like to see growth in employee “bottoms,” as evidenced by a national obesity epidemic that is becoming a public health crisis and is cutting into corporate profits through increased health care costs. A study by the not-for-profit, nonpartisan Trust for America’s Health reported that nearly 119 million American adults-65 percent-are overweight or obese. The group warns that obesity may soon overtake tobacco…

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Roche CEO search continues with no end in sight: Sudden departure of Madaus last October opened up broad search for successor

Roche Diagnostics Corp. is still searching for a CEO to lead its North American headquarters in Indianapolis, and the company has cast a wide net. Roche is searching “internally, locally, nationally and internationally” for the right executive to replace Martin D. Madaus, spokeswoman Doyia Turner said. Madaus, 45, left in October to become president and CEO of Millipore Corp. in Massachusetts, Turner said. The search is going well, she said, but the company has no time frame for completing it….

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Malpractice proposals clash with Indiana law: Federal reform efforts could create confusion

President Bush’s proposal to lower health care costs by capping medical malpractice awards could create questions in Indiana, where state lawmakers passed similar legislation 30 years ago. Bush made his case to reform health care earlier this month in Madison County, Ill., across the Mississippi River from St. Louis. The American Tort Reform Association has called the county the “judicial hellhole” of the nation because of a reputation for huge jury awards won by plaintiffs. The president wants to place…

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Growing groups carry clout: Successful physician organizations drive deals for new health care facilities

Indiana’s largest group of cardiologists was almost ready a few years ago to build its own specialty hospital in partnership with an out-of-town chain. The Care Group LLC had entered deep discussions with North Carolina-based MedCath Corp. to create a potent duo in a profitable field. The doctors told St. Vincent Health, which depended on them for cardiology expertise, “at the 11th hour” of their plans, said Dr. Skip Hallam, a cardiologist and Care Group CEO. “They stepped up to…

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Indiana off to head start in interpretation policies: State panel makes recommendations for certification

A trip to the emergency room is never planned, and it’s rarely pleasant. For those who don’t speak English, however, it can be downright bewildering. Imagine trying to communicate the details of your pain or ailment to a nurse or doctor when you can’t find the words, or deciphering an important document that needs your signature before treatment can begin. Fortunately, Indiana hospitals and other medical facilities have access to interpretation services-be it through full-time staff members or a dial-up…

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Failed deals raise questions: Standard Management calls off two health services acquisitions, delaying strategic shift

Standard Management Corp. lost a large chunk of potential revenue and raised more questions about its future when it recently revealed the end of deals to buy two health services companies. The deals’ collapse stifles attempts, at least for now, to shift the company’s business focus from life insurance to providing medical services. And it’s caught the attention of regulators who are giving the company a close look. The India n a p o l i s holding company stated…

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Cancer plan enters action phase: State health initiative unveils multi-pronged strategy to take on deadly disease

But Dr. Greg Wilson, the department’s commissioner who stepped down Jan. 25 due to the change in administrations, realizes it’s going to take more than money to snuff out unhealthful habits, such as smoking. “Three-hundred-thousand dollars will not cure cancer in Indiana,” Wilson said. “We really have to utilize the private sec- tor and we really have to involve all the participants.” Those participants include 110 organizations that make up the Indiana Cancer Consortium, an effort initiated in 2001 to…

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Advocacy office leader will keep job with state: Daniels administration retains Kernan appointee, who took new position in July

Amid all the resignations and terminations in state government recently, at least one holdover appointed by the previous administration is remaining on the job. And small-business advocates could not be more pleased. David Dorff, whom former Gov. Joe Kernan tabbed in July to lead the state’s new Office of Small Business Advocacy, received word from Gov. Mitch Daniels in early January that he would remain on staff. Kernan unveiled the agency last summer as part of a series of initiatives…

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WellPoint gets warm welcome on market: Analysts see many reasons for stock’s attractiveness

The new year dawned bright for WellPoint Inc., with the freshly formed company’s stock price in the middle of what one analyst called “somewhat extraordinary” growth. Shares for the insurer jumped nearly $8 apiece on Dec. 1 to close at $109.10 the first day they traded under the WellPoint Inc. name. Before that date, the shares traded under Anthem Inc. Steady growth continued from there. The price hit a 52-week high Jan. 19 when it closed at $123.60, according to…

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Indy heart care offerings expand once again: St. Francis polishes cardiac and vascular center

Furniture movers and technology testers have taken center stage as St. Francis Hospital and Health Centers prepares to become the latest Indianapolis provider to flex its cardiac care muscle. On March 1, St. Francis will accept the first patient for a $70 million Cardiac Vascular Care Center addition to its south campus. The new center will include an operating room with the latest electronic connections to patient information among other selling points. One item it won’t provide is a conclusive…

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ECONOMIC ANALYSIS: Understanding factors in public-sector job growth

There is nothing like a war and a recession to increase the size of government payrolls. Yet the hiring behavior of the public sector in the last four years has been unusual, when compared with previous recessions. The data tell us much of the growth in recent years has come from state and local governments. But they do not tell us why. There has been much stronger job growth in the public sector than in the private sector in the…

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School-based clinics get boost from grant: Learning Well Inc. operates in 53 Marion County schools

Indianapolis-based Anthem Foundation gave Learning Well Inc. $100,000 to open two school-based clinics in Marion County and support its efforts to address childhood obesity and asthma. But the effect will go much further than that, one board member said. “We’re finally seeing stability and potential for growth,” said Betty Wilson, a member of Learning Well’s executive committee and CEO of The Health Foundation of Greater Indianapolis, which has plowed millions into the program and is a driving force behind the…

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ECONOMIC ANALYSIS: Slow, steady job growth certainly beats alternative

It’s good to have job growth in the U.S. economy once again, even if the monthly gains in employment reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics occasionally fall short of some analysts’ expectations. After a long spell of minuscule job growth in the wake of a painful recession, we’ve grown used to disappointing announcements from the federal statistical agency responsible for tracking the labor market. But the recent report on the employment situation in December caps a year-long streak of…

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Standard Life deal on hold: Firm still trying to sell life insurance business

Standard Management Corp. ended a difficult 2004 the same way it started the year: trying to seal a deal to sell its life insurance business. The Indianapolis holding company announced in November a plan to sell Standard Life Insurance Company of Indiana to “an unaffiliated third-party buyer.” That marked the third time in 2004 that Standard entered into such an agreement, according to SEC filings. Company shares jumped 27 percent to close at $3.55 the day of the Nov. 22…

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A family cashes in on the nursing shortage: Noblesville company grows rapidly by filling void

A Noblesville family took on the U.S. nursing shortage in 1999 armed with only $30,000 and a home computer and wound up creating a multimillion-dollar business. The nursing shortage still lingers, but the family’s company, Innovative Placements Inc., takes in more than $8 million in annual revenue by filling employment gaps with traveling nurses. Twin sisters Retha Clark and Letha Engelman, and Letha’s husband, John, place more than 100 nurses in 39 states. They want to add 50 more nurses…

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Hospital grades hit Web: State says data is helpful, but should be used carefully by health care consumers

Everything from the number of services performed to the number of complaints received is covered by the new hospital consumer reports section on the department’s Web site. Health Department officials say they’ve wanted to post this information for some time to give patients a way to make more informed choices about where to seek treatment. However, the people who post the numbers and others in health care caution that the data offers only a slice of insight. Starting late last…

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