Articles

Small biz preparing wish list: Lobbyists hope to repeat past legislative success

But that doesn’t mean the organization and its 16,000 Hoosier members will rest on their laurels for the short legislative session in 2006. The group will bring a full wish list to the Statehouse in January, lobbying against increased property taxes and health insurance mandates. It’ll also petition lawmakers to restrict eminent domain seizures. Still, observers don’t think the organization will have as much cause for uncorking the bubbly as it did last year. No different than last session, businessfriendly…

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Retirees from IPL face cuts: Declining assets strain trust providing benefits to 1,900

A stampede of early retirements after IPALCO Enterprises was bought by AES Corp. in 2001 is forcing cuts in health and life insurance benefits starting next month. The IPALCO Enterprises Voluntary Employee Beneficiary Association has told its 1,900 participants that new members and rising health care costs have forced cuts that “are absolutely essential to extend the long-term viability of the VEBA Trust.” The retirement plan’s assets have fallen to $88 million from $95 million at year-end 2004, according to…

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State freeze pushes nursing care at home: FSSA clamps down on the addition of Medicaid beds

Indiana regulators have put a temporary freeze on the addition of Medicaid beds to nursing homes, as part of their push to shift care out of institutions and into patient homes. The state Family & Social Services Administration enacted a 90-day rule starting Dec. 15. While it’s in place, the state agency won’t sign the Medicaid nursing facility provider agreements needed to add beds unless they fit within narrow exceptions. In addition to imposing the temporary rule, FSSA Secretary Mitch…

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Duke, Bremner pairing bearing fruit for both companies: Venture surpasses goals with $100 million in projects

A year after forming a joint venture to pursue health care development, Duke Realty Corp. and Bremner Healthcare Real Estate are preparing to storm the Southeast, one of Duke’s stronghold markets, by opening offices in Atlanta and Miami, and by bringing on a new partner. Announced last December, Duke’s and Bremner’s joint venture this year locked up $100 million worth of projects, ranging from a medical office building on Michigan Road in Hamilton County to an outpatient hospital in Summit,…

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EYE ON THE PIE: Security depends on flexibility, not stability

In one word, what do we want? I suggest that word is security, physical and financial security. We want to live without fear for our lives or our livelihoods. The atrocities of 9/11 made Americans more fearful about their physical security than they had been since the early days of World War II. Our economic condition feels insecure as jobs drift to other nations, as health care costs soar, and as both public and private pension plans are threatened. To…

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BEHIND THE NEWS: Another mark against Marsh: It has big pension shortfall

As if Marsh Supermarkets Inc. didn’t have enough problems, here’s another whopper: The company has a drastically underfunded employee pension plan-to the tune of $44 million. That figure is disclosed deep within a Securities and Exchange Commission filing the company submitted in June. It shows the pension plan had assets of $39 million, less than half its $83 million in projected obligations. It’s a big shortfall, and one analysts say is sure to draw the attention of potential suitors. An…

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Clarian nabs UAC building: Hospital network wins bid for former corporate headquarters

Clarian Health Partners is polishing a deal to buy the former Union Acceptance Corp. headquarters on North Shadeland Avenue, a move that plants a large footprint for the burgeoning hospital network squarely in a competitor’s east-side back yard. Clarian made the winning bid for the 126,000-square-foot building at a Nov. 15 auction, but the sale had not closed as of Nov. 30, said Bob Getts of Colliers Turley Martin Tucker, which ran the auction. He referred all questions to Clarian….

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Health discount cards spark call for regulation: State insurance group leads registration push

Some health care discount programs that can leave patients stranded with large medical bills have put Indiana insurers in the strange position of asking for more government regulation. The Indiana Association of Health Underwriters plans to lobby in the upcoming legislative session for a bill that requires companies offering health care discounts to register with the state. That would allow regulators to investigate complaints and pursue regulatory action if troubles arise with the discounts, said Shawn Gibbons, a board member…

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Prominent technology executive steps down: Wortman resigns from Mezzia after just one year

Details are scant. But after only a year on the job, one of the city’s best-known IT leaders is moving on. Mezzia Inc. CEO David Wortman has resigned. “It was just time for a change,” Wortman said. “I was with the company for a year, accomplished a lot, and was ready for a change.” Best known as the longtime CEO of locally based manufacturing softwaremaker Made2Manage Systems, Wortman, 54, led his former company through an initial public offering. But he…

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Health care: big problem for small business: Wyoming lawmaker’s proposed legislation could end 10-year Senate impasse on controversial solution

More than 45 million Americans lack health insurance. And more than half of them are employed or dependent on someone who works for a small business, according to the National Federation of Independent Business. It’s a big problem-especially in Indiana. Between 2000 and 2004, 5.6 percent of Hoosier workers lost employer-provided health care, according to the Economic Policy Institute. That’s a higher percentage than any state except Wisconsin. Legislation just introduced in Congress by Wyoming Sen. Michael Enzi, however, may…

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States crimp Zyprexa access: Medicaid restrictions cutting into sales of Lilly’s top drug

Eli Lilly and Co.’s top seller Zyprexa, pummeled in recent quarters by concerns over side effects, now faces a growing challenge from some of its biggest customers: state Medicaid programs. Citing high costs, more than a half dozen states have moved Zyprexa and other pricey anti-psychotics off preferred drug lists or made it harder for doctors to prescribe them for patients on Medicaid, the state-federal program that provides health care coverage for the poor and disabled. Georgia, for instance, saved…

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INVESTING: To do well in market, study sectors’ relative strengths

You’re cool. You wear hip clothes. You get invited to the best parties. You drive the most popular car. Most of the time, you measure how cool you are by looking around and seeing what other people are doing. You don’t want to be the only person at the restaurant or the only one at the game. The same concept is true in the stock market. Investors want to own the hot stocks. A stock gets hot because it is…

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Standard Life sale leads to lawsuit over price: Kentucky buyer claims $652,000 refund is owed

Standard Management Corp. last week disclosed a new round of financial challenges and was hit with a lawsuit by a Kentucky company that bought its Standard Life Insurance subsidiary earlier this year. Louisville-based Capital Assurance Corp. accuses Standard Management of breaching terms of the contract to sell Standard Life and seeks a $652,126 refund, according to the lawsuit filed Nov. 14 in federal court in Indianapolis. Standard claims it owes only $43,000 in what it deems a “purchase-price adjustment dispute,”…

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EYE ON THE PIE: Should we save ailing manufacturers?

Today, Delphi in Kokomo is the leading economic issue in Indiana. The resolution of its difficulties may foreshadow where we go as a state. Delphi is a major manufacturer of electronics for automobiles. As a former component of General Motors Corp., Delphi still depends on that struggling company for a large portion of its revenue. In addition, Delphi has pension and health care costs inherited from GM’s relationship with the United Auto Workers. Despite the fact that Delphi has been…

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Being inventive to infinity: Entrepreneurial spirit still strong after 125 years of health care

Today, the entrepreneurial spirit of the Daughters, who are Roman Catholic, lives on. They have a rich legacy to celebrate as they approach the 125th anniversary of the founding of the hospital that was the forerunner of St. Vincent Hospital Indianapolis. “To do all that, these four Daughters of Charity had to pass the baton, the values and spirit along over many, many generations,” said Dr. Malcolm Herring, a vascular surgeon at St. Vincent Hospital and physician liaison to mission…

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Health Care Crusade: Physicians push for universal health coverage in Indiana

ome heart muscle had already died by the time family members coaxed the 50-something uninsured man into visiting Bloomington Hospital a few weeks ago. The patient had suffered severe chest pains two days before his hospital visit but didn’t seek treatment, said Dr. Rob Stone, an emergencyroom physician there. “It was clearly because he was afraid of the bill,” Stone said. By the time he made it to the hospital, the man was suffering a second heart attack. Now he…

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Doctor group spreads its reach across state: American Health Network sees big growth in 2005

American Health Network started 2005 with no presence in the cancer-fighting field of oncology. Now the Indianapolis-based doctor network boasts the largest medical oncology practice in the state, said Dr. Ben Park, its president and CEO. Within the past several months, Park has watched his network add oncology practices with 32 locations across the state, 10 family physicians in Muncie, and a $4 million Fishers Medical Arts Building, built in partnership with Indianapolisbased OrthoIndy. He expects to see more growth….

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State revamps health coverage: New health savings accounts and high-deductible policies could help stem rising costs

Indiana state government will unveil a fresh approach to insurance coverage next year when it offers health savings accounts to its 33,000 employees and their dependents. The state wants employees to take more control of their health care and consequently harness spiraling costs, Personnel Director Debra Minott said. The high-deductible AnthemBy-Design plan it chose to accomplish that will be offered as one of five coverage options during an open enrollment that starts Oct. 31. “We really see a looming crisis…

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Health construction beat marches on in Hendricks: Population growth spurs health care development

A growing population is breeding more multimillion-dollar health care projects in Hendricks County. Danville-based Hendricks Regional Health will begin work next month on a $16 million medical office building more than a year after completing a $24.5 million hospital expansion, and St. Francis Hospital & Health Centers is staking its claim with a $4.7 million medical office under construction in Plainfield. Meanwhile, Clarian Health Partners plans to bulk up parts of the 76-bed hospital it opened just last year in…

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Medicaid presents crime of opportunity: Fraud investigators see steady stream of people ripping off the system

Pictures may be worth a thousand words, but they could cost dentist Michael Bajza $200,000 and six months of home detention. The Griffith dentist pleaded guilty in federal court this month to one count of health care fraud. He admitted asking Medicaid for reimbursement of oral Xrays when he knew his employees had only taken photographs of patients’ teeth. Bajza and Thomas Hoshour, a former operator of central Indiana detox centers who is scheduled for sentencing Nov. 4, are but…

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