Articles

Don’t turn back on local needs: United Way deserves support as much as hurricane victims

How do you compete with Hurricane Katrina? For three weeks, we have been inundated by images of suffering and devastation on the Gulf Coast. In the midst of it all, United Way of Central Indiana has struggled to attract attention to the kickoff of its annual campaign. It’s a tough sell, just as it was four years ago when another horrific event-the 9/11 terrorist attacks-coincided with the campaign kickoff. “It took the fund-raising community about three years to recover from…

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Opportunity … .. or Albatross?: Winona bankruptcy creditors move toward sheriff’s sale

A sheriff’s sale to the highest bidder may be the fate of the once-bustling Winona Memorial Hospital. Bankruptcy creditors, frustrated that they haven’t found a buyer for the vacant near-northside property, plan to seek a foreclosure that clears the way for public auctions of the hospital and an adjacent nursing home. A sale and renovation of the properties could boost the neighborhood surrounding Winona, a part of town that has struggled but is riding a wave of good news the…

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Formula freebies create controversy: Medical profession encounters gray area when it accepts samples

The free mouse pads and pens that popped up every time a baby formula salesman visited Indiana University Hospital annoyed Marsha Glass, a former lactation consultant there. However, the cases of baby formula-left not for newborn mothers but for nurses on her floor who had babies at home-prompted her to take action. Giving formula to nurses, she said, went way beyond the $75 limit set for such gifts by Clarian Health Partners, the hospital network that includes IU. Glass complained…

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ECONOMIC ANALYSIS: Rising health care costs killing jobs and income

Most of us have been in a doctor’s office, and many of us have had conditions that require treatment. But few of us are likely to hear any information presented on the cost of different treatment options along with their benefits, especially if we are one of the 170 million people covered by employer- or governmentprovided health insurance. It is an amazing fact that nearly $3 trillion of health care goods and services are ordered off a menu that has…

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Staffing agency seeks bankruptcy protection: Morley Group begins reorganizing $5.3 million debt

The 13-year-old staffing agency already owes the bank $1.94 million-a $1.17 million loan used to construct its headquarters and about $768,000 for operating expenses. President Michael Morley blamed poor economic conditions for the filing. He said the company hopes to emerge from bankruptcy quickly. “Our business is just now starting to come back and increase,” he said. “We’re going to be able to straighten this out. We’re not taking this lightly.” Other debts listed in the bankruptcy filing include a…

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BEHIND THE NEWS: Here’s a Blues performance that won’t get you down

Anthem Inc.’s $1.9 billion initial public offering in late 2001 set all kinds of records. It was the biggest IPO for a U.S. health care company ever, and the biggest IPO for a Hoosier company of any kind. But that company, now known as WellPoint Inc., was puny compared with its size today. Then, it had a market value of $3.9 billion; now, thanks to acquisitions and a surging stock price, it’s worth $45 billion. WellPoint shares were trading last…

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Insurers thinking younger: Healthy, uninsured and 20? WellPoint, Golden Rule, others would like to sell you a policy

WellPoint Inc. and other insurers think they’ve found a hot new market-offering high-deductible individual health insurance policies to uninsured people who are young and healthy. It’s a market insurers historically may have overlooked, based on the misconception that uninsured people are poor and in bad health, said Dana McMurtry, vice president of health policy and analysis at WellPoint. Nationally, more than half the 45 million uninsured earn more than $25,000 a year and more than one-quarter top $50,000 annually, according…

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EYE ON THE PIE: How home buyers step off a cliff

Why does Indiana have such high bankruptcy and mortgage foreclosure rates? No one knows. Many say the economy in Indiana has been responsible for our troubles, but other states have been hit as hard and not had the same bankruptcy and foreclosure problems. Perhaps we are a state of dreamers, people who want to own a home but do not understand the obligations we assume. Our dreams are encouraged by the federal government, which allows mortgage interest and property tax…

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Soldiers confront insurance obstacles: Health providers reluctant to accept Tricare coverage due to low reimbursement

Karen Welch had plenty of reasons to break out the worry beads last year, even before she dealt with Tricare, her new health insurance provider. The Zionsville resident was a month pregnant with her first child when she watched her husband, Travis, leave for Afghanistan with his Indiana National Guard unit. Then she learned she had to find a new primary care physician who would accept Tricare. She also needed an obstetrician/ gynecologist and a pediatrician in the netwowrk for…

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NOTIONS: An empty nest fills with memories

Last Sunday morning, I awoke before dawn. Dreading what was to come, I lingered in bed, watching the gray light of a cloudy morning illuminate the houses across the way. Around 7:30, I worked up the energy to get out of bed. I took a shower, popped my morning meds, and headed downstairs. As is their teen-age wont, both my boys were still asleep. So I retrieved The Star and The New York Times from the driveway and glanced through…

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Questions follow Standard into new arena: Company boosts health services with several purchases

Standard Management Corp. followed the sale of one of its staple insurance businesses with a flurry of purchases this summer aimed at shifting its focus to health care services. Despite all the change, some constants remain for the struggling Indianapolis holding company: seven-figure quarterly losses and questions about its new direction. Standard completed the sale of Standard Life Insurance Company of Indiana to Louisville-based Capital Assurance Corp. in June for $79 million, then wasted little time spending some of the…

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Community entity wants to know where to grow next: Visionary Enterprises may test markets in several states

Community Health Network first exported its expertise in surgery-center management a few years ago. Now, the Indianapolis-based network wants to see how far beyond state lines it can push the growth for this moneymaking venture. The not-for-profit hospital network is exploring Kentucky, Illinois, Ohio and other Midwestern states as possible growth sites for Visionary Enterprises Inc., according to Community CEO William Corley. The for-profit arm of Community already runs an office and three locations in Michigan, along with five in…

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Dose of OPPORTUNITY: Wellpoint, other health care insurers forge strategies to grab their share of Medicare drug-plan business

Afresh market that could be worth billions of dollars lies just over the horizon for health insurers like Indianapolis-based WellPoint Inc. Medicare, the U.S. government program for the elderly and disabled, will add a prescription drug benefit starting Jan. 1, and it could spend as much as $60 billion next year on medicines for 30 million people, according to Bloomberg News. But before insurers can start cashing in on this potential, they must develop their drug plans, win over some…

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Electronic network prepares to branch out: More hospital systems, doctors in line for speedy test results through Indiana Health Information Exchange

The Indiana Health Information Exchange starts a busy fall next month with plans to add two more hospital systems to a cutting-edge electronic network designed to improve patient care in central Indiana. The expansion is helping keep Indiana ahead of other states exploring this new branch of medical technology, experts say. The state also is home to the Indianapolis Network for Patient Care, a system that started in the mid-1990s as a way for hospital emergency rooms to share patient…

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Riverview Hospital opens health care, fitness center:

Riverview Hospital opened a Health Care Pavilion July 5 at 146th Street and Hazel Dell Parkway. The 15,000-square-foot facility is the first building to open in the new $5.2 million health and fitness complex. The pavilion will be home to Hazel Dell Family and Immediate Care, as well as several physicians specializing in such areas as women’s health, preventive medicine and sports medicine. The second building in the complex, the Riverview Health and Fitness Center, is slated to open in…

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Baby doctors ready to bolt: Clarian North’s new north-side med center to lure business from St. Vincent, Community

Storm clouds are gathering to the north as St. Vincent Health applies the last coat of polish to its $19 million Women’s Hospital renovation. The Indianapolis hospital will lose an obstetrician-gynecology group that delivers as many as 1,440 babies a year shortly after it completes its expansion in September. The 10 doctors of Women’s Health Alliance plan to move offices and shift 80 percent of their practice to a new competitor, Clarian North Medical Center, a $285 million project scheduled…

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Interactive Intelligence posts profit, again: Communications software-maker nets modest earnings

Its profit may be modest. But after years of struggle, Interactive Intelligence Inc. knows the value of small gains. They sure beat massive losses. Last week, the Indianapolis-based software company reported a second-quarter profit of $290,000 on sales of $15.6 million. That compares with a profit of $304,000 on sales of $13.6 million posted during the same quarter last year. It was the company’s sixth consecutive profitable quarter, for a total of $1.4 million. That’s a big turnaround for the…

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EYE ON THE PIE: Your call is important to someone

I’m on hold after calling Wishard Hospital’s Adult Medicine Clinic at 7 a.m., as instructed, to get an appointment with my doctor. My call is very important, the recorded message says, but no one is responding. First, I am told that if this call concerns a “life-threatening situation,” I should hang up and call 9-1-1. That’s really helpful. Maybe other, more sophisticated patients can identify a “life-threatening situation.” I am always reluctant to make such a determination. Then I go…

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Smaller-sized meetings bring in big bucks for city: Hospitality group sees value in events of all scales

Even event planners hire event planners. When Cynthia Howell needed to plan an event in the city for a state health care organization, she called Betsy Ward, a member of the meetings team at the Indianapolis Convention and Visitors Association. With what Howell calls minimal effort on her part, the Indiana Primary Health Care Association Inc. will stay in 50 rooms for two nights at the Sheraton Indianapolis Hotel and Suites at Keystone at the Crossing this fall. The group…

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