Articles

Mother-daughter team up on medical tracking software: Qtrac takes guesswork out of patient paperwork at long-term-care facilities

In charge of quality assurance for a long-term-care facility, Jennifer Summers was responsible for ensuring that the company strictly followed policies and procedures, that it maintained infection-control standards, and that overall patient care standards were upheld. On top of internal controls, she had to make sure the facility met federal requirements for Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement, including documentation of a patient’s range of motion, bed mobility, eating, hygiene and more. For the most part, handwritten and verbal documentation detailed how…

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Strengthened safety net eases strain on insurers: Companies see more manageable contributions under new format to pay ICHIA’s losses

Indiana’s health insurance safety net has pared enrollment and trimmed the industry support it needs by $18 million a year, thanks to reform efforts that started a few years ago. But M-Plan Inc. CEO Alex Slabosky sees an even greater benefit behind the transformation of the Indiana Comprehensive Health Insurance Association: It allowed his company to remain in business. In 2003, M-Plan had to pay $5.9 million to help support ICHIA, a big chunk of change for a company that…

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Developers eye extension for opportunities: Four-mile link of 146th Street from S.R. 37 to I-69 in Noblesville will turn road into important thoroughfare

A commercial corridor brimming with office buildings, similar to the one along U.S. 31 in Carmel, is what Noblesville city planners envision for the 146th Street extension from State Road 37 to Interstate 69. Ground is expected to be broken this fall on the four-mile extension, which will make the street a major east-west thoroughfare through the south side of Noblesville if finished as planned in October 2007. The street is already a busy route across much of Hamilton County,…

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Gateway shuts the door on benefits enhancement: Indianapolis company will cease operations Aug. 30; CEO hopes to reopen

Gateway Medical Resource Alliance, a niche health care benefits company, will shut down Aug. 30, more than a month after losing the lone Indianapolis hospital in its network. The company, which has shrunk to six workers, provides employers discounts for certain cardiology, orthopedics and oncology care. In return for fees from the employers, Gateway offers flat, all-inclusive prices for procedures. It also offers prescription and wellness services. CEO Terry Kopp said he still hopes to find another hospital to resuscitate…

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WellPoint putting members’ medical records online: Access to electronic medical information could reduce health care errrors and avoid unneccesary procedures

A benefits package WellPoint Inc. unveiled in July includes an ambitious effort that enables its 34 million members to access their medical records online. WellPoint’s initiative to make the records available electronically is but one example of a national movement, backed by President Bush, to make all medical records available online within the next 10 years. Advocates say online systems can reduce medical errors and avoid unnecessary procedures by making patients’ medical needs and histories available to doctors instantaneously. Indianapolis-based…

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Workers can help lower health costs:

Health care costs keep small-business owners up at night. According to Forbes magazine, the cost of health care is rising at three times the rate of inflation. Because demand for medical treatment will continue to grow as Americans age, insurance premiums will continue to increase. Some small-business owners’ first reaction is to shift rising costs to employees. Others simply eliminate health insurance benefits altogether. While this reduces expenses and raises profit in the short term, it ruins a company’s ability…

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BIZ BASICS: Use new savings accounts to cover medical expenses

And with no end in sight to the cost crunch, the prognosis is poor. Panicked business owners now cite the rising cost of health insurance as their top concern. They know that workers value their medical coverage, but as owners they feel trapped-they must either pass along rate hikes or cut benefits entirely. A relatively new health plan option offers hope. Health savings accounts work in IRA-like fashion to cover out-ofpocket medical costs with tax-sheltered money. An HSA is an…

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Australian-born luxury ‘healing’ spa opens in Conrad: Spa Chakra touts healthy benefits of its treatments

A world-renowned, high-end luxury spa that originated in Australia and partners with a Parisian skin-care and fragrance company has chosen Indianapolis for its second U.S. facility. Spa Chakra, which uses Guerlain SA products exclusively, opened in the new Conrad Indianapolis Hotel in May. There are 16 Spa Chakra locations worldwide, but only one other in the United States-in Portland, Ore. Locations are expected to open in Bal Harbour, Fla., later this year and in Washington, D.C., in 2007. The spa,…

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Indiana midwife debate headed for another round: Committee to study issue; bill set to be reintroduced

A bill that would give women what some say is their right to choose where and how they can give birth has been incubating in the state’s General Assembly for eight years. But hopes are running high for the proposed law that would regulate and expand midwifery in Indiana because it will be studied by a special committee this summer for a possible reintroduction in the 2007 legislative session. Under current Indiana law, only doctors and registered nurses are able…

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Moratorium nearing its expiration date: Experts don’t expect flurry of new specialty hospitals

Health care experts don’t predict a surge in specialty hospital construction after a federal moratorium expires next month. Even so, the rift between competing industry interests is expected to intensify. Moratoriums on new physician-owned heart, orthopedic and surgical specialty hospitals dating back to the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003 temporarily stalled the rapid growth of the facilities. In Indianapolis, three such hospitals-the Heart Center of Indiana, the Indiana Heart Hospital and the Indiana Orthopaedic Hospital-opened between December 2002 and March…

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VIEWPOINT: Consumers should take charge of health

In an environment where we’re all being asked to pay a larger share of our own health care costs, it’s interesting to see how little time we spend thinking about major decisions that have an impact on our health. Like selecting a primary care physician or any medical specialist, for example. According to a recent Managed Care Weekly Digest survey, 67 percent of U.S. adults ages 18-64 said they spent eight hours or more researching an automobile purchase, yet only…

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Firm may hold key to earlier detection: Startup lands grants for breast cancer biomarker

Linda Malkas’ arrival at the Indiana University School of Medicine four years ago is beginning to look like a coup for the city’s life sciences initiative. Armed with promising cancer research, Malkas helped found CS-Keys Inc., which last month received a $285,000 infusion from BioCrossroads’ Indiana Seed Fund and is poised to net a similar investment July 17 from Triathlon Medical Ventures in Cincinnati. The additional capital is critical to the startup’s continuing development of a biomarker that detects breast…

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Alley’s new aim: Consolidate electronics industry: Ex-banker shooting for $170M in revenue by 2012

Since purchasing Escient Solutions in early 2003 and changing its name to Electronic Evolutions Inc., Mike Alley has increased revenue 35 percent, to $6.5 million. That’ll be small potatoes if Alley’s dreams for the company pan out. Alley, former Fifth Third Bank of Central Indiana president and CEO, wants to be a consolidator in the fragmented electronics and automation design and installation industry. Toward that end, he partnered in late June with electronics industry veteran Daniel Knotts and formed E2…

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Westview soldiers on amid health care explosion: Hospital fares well against larger, newer competition

A touch-screen directory, a grove of potted trees and a muffin-bearing kiosk greet visitors entering the six-story atrium at the new Clarian North Medical Center in Carmel. A much milder scene awaits people walking into Westview Hospital a few miles away, on the west side of Indianapolis. There, a lonely player piano spills soft tunes into a one-story lobby filled with clusters of chairs and pamphlets on volunteering. “Quiet! Healing in Progress” reads a nearby sign. Indiana’s lone osteopathic hospital…

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NOTIONS: Of sexual predators, pit bulls and oddly lesser evils

God, she’s cute: Your little Paula or Patti or Pammy. Sitting there on the swing set, rocking back and forth, back and forth, her brunette locks blowing in the breeze. You watch her on the merry-go-round, spinning faster and faster. Watch her on the jungle gym, climbing higher and higher. Watch her and her little friend Annie or Jenny or Missy walking toward the trail into the woods. And you know you aren’t the only one watching. You know he’s…

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Carmel firm grows up in emerging market: BlueBean acquisition makes it one-stop RFID shop

A small Indiana firm is looking to become a big player in the emerging radio-frequency-identification market. Carmel-based BlueBean LLC is one of a small but growing number of firms nationally that provide consulting services to companies trying to set up systems using radio frequency identification-commonly called RFID-tags and readers. BlueBean in April acquired Mishawakabased www.rfidsupplychain.com, which sells RFID hardware and software online. The acquisition also provided BlueBean rights to a bevy of other domain names, including www.rfidhealthcare.com, www.rfidpharma.comand www.rfidfood.com. The…

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Doctor takes on state over Medicaid payments: Psychiatrist claims he’s being forced out of business

A Franklin psychiatrist has accused the state agency that runs Medicaid of suffocating his practice in a reimbursement dispute that dates back more than a year. Dr. John Lewis said the weekly Medicaid checks that keep his Harmony Center open dwindled to nothing for four straight weeks after he filed a lawsuit in April against the state Family and Social Services Administration over a payment review it imposed. The psychiatrist believes his center may survive only another month, a closing…

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Patient safety center steers clear of the blame game: New approach modeled after aviation industry

Indiana hospitals are drawing inspiration from the aviation industry for their latest push to reduce medical errors. The Indiana Patient Safety Center, which opened July 1, will foster a blamefree approach to reporting errors, much like the environment promoted by the Federal Aviation Administration. The result will be a culture that encourages system analysis to fix flaws that lead to an error, rather than one that merely heaps blame on the person who committed it, said Bob Morr, vice president…

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New law puts brakes on nursing home construction: State pushing other forms of long-term health care

Families want more long-term-care options for their elderly loved ones these days, and Indiana officials are trying to lend a hand. The state will begin a year-long moratorium on nursing home construction July 1, shortly after the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration starts a marketing campaign called Options to let Hoosiers know they have choices outside of stashing Grandma at Shady Acres for a couple of years. Indiana also will boost Medicaid reimbursement for these options, which include assisted…

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ECONOMIC ANALYSIS: Health care cost ‘solutions’ only worsen the problems

As an economic forecaster, I am almost always optimistic. But that’s not a personality trait. It’s the nature of the business. The economy around us is doing amazingly well. We’ve had much longer economic expansions, steady job and income growth, and less frequent recessions for more than two decades now. So when you deliver an optimistic forecast these days, you stand a pretty good chance of being right. But if there’s one area where my optimism vanishes, it is this-how…

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