Articles

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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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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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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Partners bet on Capitol block: Shiel Sexton teams up with Gregory & Appel to redevelop old factory

An Indianapolis contracting company is deepening its near-north-side roots-and exploring another avenue of the real estate business-with a multimillion-dollar plan to renovate and rent out an 85-year-old building just blocks from its Capitol Avenue headquarters. Shiel Sexton Co. Inc. has agreed to spend more than $5 million on the 60,000-square-foot brick building at 1402 N. Capitol Ave., restoring the property to its former glory and transforming it from industrial to office use. The company also is seeking tenants for a…

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A business decision: Appointee: Finances, not tax woes, led to reconsideration

Harold Calloway said his sudden decision last week to decline his appointment as Indiana’s next insurance commissioner boiled down to a reluctance to leave the business he built from scratch. His change of heart had nothing to do with several state-income-tax warrants filed against him and his wife, Frankye, according to Calloway. All the warrants have been satisfied or paid, according to state records. Gov. Mitch Daniels announced late last month that he had picked Calloway, 58, to become the…

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VIEWPOINT: We stand on the shoulders of black business giants

In a recent conversation with a family member regarding the lack of African-American businesses in the high technology, life sciences and larger manufacturing arenas, I began to wonder, “What are the barriers that prevent African-Americans from entering business? Are conditions worse now than in the past when we seemed to have greater representation in these areas?” Some will say it is the lack of access to capital. Some will point to the continued aura of racism and prejudice, while still…

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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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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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Workers’ Comp safety net lands in new claims pool: Market of last resort changes way it handles premiums

The state ran into problems, though, when several insurers became insolvent, which cost the state more than $1 million in recent years. Starting Jan. 1, all the premiums began going into a trust account, which pays the claims as needed. The insurance providers will not be called upon unless that account runs dry, Cooper said. The state safety net for Worker’s Compensation insurance began the new year with a new plan to pay claims, one that might lead to fewer…

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EYE ON THE PIE: We’re saving more than you think

For years, I have been listening to Paul Harvey on the radio decrying the low savings rate of Americans. Our seemingly profligate ways, spending nearly all we earn, will lead us to the poorhouse, if not the eternal fires of debtors’ damnation. Many of my learned colleagues share this view. Americans are spending too much, consuming too much, saving too little. They tell us the personal-savings rate hit an all-time low in October, at 0.1 percent. That means we put…

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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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Checking credit status set to get easier: New law lets consumers obtain 3 free reports each year, implements changes to help fight identification theft

Aging medical bills that fell off the radar screen, unused bank accounts that were never closed and continue to rack up monthly fees, or an erroneous charge placed on the report by mistake all can wreak havoc on consumers’ plans. Beginning in March, however, a law signed by President Bush in December 2003 will make it easier for Indiana residents to keep closer tabs on those credit reports and head off troubles at the pass. The Fair and Accurate Credit…

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GERALD BEPKO Commentary: State should help insurance industry grow

GERALD BEPKO Commentary State should help insurance industry grow Everyone seems to agree that state governments must facilitate job growth and wealth creation. As pioneers in publicprivate partnerships, Indiana’s leaders have envisioned a future for Indiana that includes many partnership economi c – d eve l o p m e n t strategies. One reflection of this vision is the Central Indiana Corporate Partnership-led focus on key sectors, such as advanced manufacturing, logistics and life sciences. The priority associated with…

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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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She makes live TV readable for the hearing impaired: Former court reporter transferred her skills to broadcast captioning, which she does from her home studio

If you’ve ever hit the mute button on your TV, you’ve probably seen the closed-captioning text at the bottom of the screen that’s provided primarily for the hearing impaired. For live TV shows, someone’s fingers have to fly on a stenotype machine to produce those captions. The National Court Reporters Association estimates there are only about 500 people in the country who can do that, and Susie Wollenweber is one of them. Working from her Indianapolis basement, Wollenweber provides broadcast…

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Weight center waits: Bariatric surgery hospital had been scheduled to open in mid-2004

Michigan-based Forest Health Services LLC launched plans in 2003 to build a two-story inpatient bariatric hospital at Intech Park off 71st Street and then applied a year ago for a license to operate it. The hospital would treat people with severe weight problems. Workers completed most of the construction on the 37,000-squarefoot building last spring, but little has happened since. A letter filed last January with the Indiana State Department of Health said Forest Health anticipated a June or July…

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