Articles

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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Docs asked to put ownership stake in writing: State now requires disclosure for some patient referrals

A new state law aims to shine more light on the touchy financial relationships that can crop up when a doctor refers a patient to another health care business. Since July 1, physicians have had to provide patients with a written disclosure when they make a referral to another business in which they have an ownership interest. That could mean a laboratory, specialty hospital or an imaging center, among other possibilities. State Rep. Vaneta Becker, R-Evansville, said she wrote the…

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EYE ON THE PIE: Nation forgets how it achieved prosperity

“How do you do it?” The question came from Mumbles Marcus, my talk-showhost cousin. “Every week, another fresh, insightful column addressing one of our nation’s leading issues.” Since we were onair, I kept my reply polite: “Actually, Mumbles, I write the same column almost every week. I change the clothing, but the body remains the same. I am obsessed with the many choices we must make to satisfy private interests today and meet the needs of ourselves and others in…

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Diversity marketing gains steam in central Indiana: Ad agencies helping convey cultural revelancy

Ethnic or diversity marketing, once confined to major cities such as Dallas, New York and Los Angeles, is taking hold in Indianapolis. “We have seen a gradual but growing response among clients to communicate to a multicultural audience,” said Clyde Bodkin, president of locally based Bodkin Associates Inc. “Not everyone is in the same place, but smart companies are finding culturally sensitive, culturally relevant ways to communicate to their target markets.” Diversity marketing is the fastest-growing sector of Bodkin’s 14-person…

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Major Hospital brings physician practices into the fold: Smaller doctor groups find health systems attractive

Major Hospital went on a buying spree toward the end of last year, and it had nothing to do with the holiday season. The Shelbyville hospital purchased three physician practices as part of an effort to help doctors and to make Major a “physician-friendly hospital,” Major Hospital CEO Tony Lennen said. “I’ve always felt if our physicians do well, we’ll do well,” he said. “Our goal down here is, ‘Is there some symbiotic way we can coexist?’ “We’ve always been…

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Degree combines medicine, business: IU grads put in 5 years to earn combo MD/MBA

Tell people you have your MD and they’ll likely be impressed. Tell them you also have an MBA-well, now you’re just showing off. For four recent Indiana University graduates, however, impressing others had nothing to do with their decision to pursue simultaneous medical and business degrees. It’s all about making their way in the increasingly complicated field of health care, where being a good doctor is about more than having the highest grades in medical school. The four students received…

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Employers promoting fitness: To battle steep insurance costs, businesses help employees get healthier

Wearing a pedometer, Kelly Dircksen treads 2,000 or so steps a day at the office, racking up her highest counts in her treks to the photocopier. Her 2-1/2-mile daily goal entails after-work walks, as well. The 34-year-old quoting specialist said her company pays 50 percent of any fitness-related costs for her and her family, including a Weight Watchers program, running shoes for her kids, and the entry fee for her son’s marathon. “I’m definitely healthier,” said Dircksen, who celebrates incremental…

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Education programs provide job opportunities: Career Connections aims to curb turnover at entry level

When Luvinia Hollis moved to Indianapolis from Kentucky about five years ago, the then-42-year-old had few skills, so landing a job was difficult. She lived with her sisters and got some help from her ex-husband, but trying to make ends meet on $100 a week was nearly impossible. “It was so horrible for me, you wouldn’t believe,” Hollis said. She worked odd jobs for the next few years, making barely more than minimum wage. Eventually, she found her way to…

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Purdue, Regenstrief look for ways to trim health costs: Health & Hospital Association a ‘real-world’ partner

“Ultimately, we think the benefits of the partnership will be more efficient, costeffective care to the citizens of Indiana,” Morr said. “The bottom line is, how can we do what we do better?” Small and medium-size hospitals, which typically do not have people on staff dedicated to study the types of issues the Regenstrief center will tackle, could benefit most from the affiliation, Morr said. Ed Abel, director in charge of health care services for the locally based Blue &…

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Living wills get surge of interest: Lawyers, caregivers, estate planners field more questions about advance directives in wake of Schiavo case

When Mick Meiners brings up living wills these days, his clients tend to pay more attention than they did before the Terri Schiavo case dominated headlines. “In the past, people would say, ‘Yeah, that might be something I might get to or it’s something my parents should do,'” said Meiners, a certified financial planner with Financial Plans & Strategies Inc. of Indianapolis. The St. Vincent Hospice also has seen a spike in interest, with more phone calls from people asking…

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VIEWPOINT: We have a lot to learn from Henry Ford

When Henry Ford installed the world’s first moving assembly line in 1913, he changed the auto industry. Little did he know that nearly a century later, the same tools used to create the production line would pave the way for innovations in health care delivery. First implemented at the Highland Park Ford Plant in Detroit, the assembly line allowed individual workers to remain stationary while performing the same task repeatedly on multiple vehicles. The line proved tremendously efficient, helping Ford…

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Taking the pulse of life sciences: Experts weigh in on whether Indiana is keeping up in the economic development race

IBJ: Is Indiana gaining ground against other states in the race to grow as a life sciences hub? What are some specific benchmarks that underscore your opinion? JOHNSON: Indiana is gaining ground, but Indiana already starts on really very substantial ground. There are a lot of outside validations of that and I think it’s important for this audience to hear a couple of them because there is nothing like having people on the outside pay attention to what we’re doing…

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Clinic predicts Hamilton County will be fertile ground: Doctors relocate reproductive practice to growing area

Surgery centers and a heart hospital are among a host of health care facilities that have risen in burgeoning north-suburban Hamilton County in recent years. Now, a new fertility clinic could contribute to the population surge by helping couples conceive children. The 6,400-square-foot Follas Center for Reproductive Medicine opened late last month on East 146th Street in Noblesville in a collaboration between several Indianapolis reproductive medicine innovators. The center is a partnership between Dr. David McLaughlin, a local pioneer of…

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Debate over health care development takes legal twist: Three county-imposed construction moratoriums face federal lawsuits

Hospitals and developers recently filed lawsuits in U.S. District Court against three counties that enacted moratoriums to slow health care construction in their territory. The Sisters of St. Francis Health Services Inc. sued Morgan County in April, and some Kentucky-based companies filed complaints against Clark and Floyd counties June 13. County officials say they need to make sure their county-owned hospitals remain viable in the face of more development. They also argue that providers want to enter their turf and…

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