Healthcare Business News

St. Luke's Health System planned to demand higher payments after Saltzer deal, and other briefs

By Modern Healthcare
Posted: February 1, 2014 - 12:01 am ET

  • St. Luke's Health System in Boise, Idaho, planned to use the leverage created from its acquisition of Saltzer Medical Group to command higher payments that would fund physician pay increases, according to a new opinion issued by the judge who ordered the system to unwind the deal. U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill's memorandum sheds light on the arguments that led him to side with St. Luke's competitors and state and federal officials who challenged the acquisition of Nampa, Idaho-based Saltzer.

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  • WellPoint has signed roughly 500,000 new customers since the state and federal exchanges opened for business Oct. 1. That accounts for more than 15% of the roughly 3 million individuals who have acquired coverage through the fledgling marketplaces. Roughly 80% of WellPoint's enrollments were new customers, although it remains unclear how many were previously uninsured. About two-thirds of the company's new clients qualified for federal subsidies that are available for individuals with incomes up to 400% of the federal poverty threshold. WellPoint officials offered the most thorough breakdown of exchange enrollments to date on a call with investors Jan. 29. The Indianapolis-based, publicly traded company, which is affiliated with the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, is selling products through the exchanges in all 14 states where it does non-governmental business.

  • McKesson Corp.'s earnings took a 79% dive in its third quarter despite revenue growth across the company's segments. Revenue for the San Francisco-based pharmaceutical distributor and information technology company was $34.3 billion for the period ended Dec. 31, up 10% from $31.1 billion a year ago. But operational gains were offset by charges related to inventory adjustments, restructuring, and an ongoing transfer pricing dispute with the Canada Revenue Agency.

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