BISMARCK, N.D.—North Dakota became the first state to be denied an exemption from the medical-loss-ratio provision of the healthcare reform law. The MLR provision in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act requires that insurance companies in the individual market spend at least 80% of premium dollars on medical care, or else provide rebates to their customers in 2012. Currently, 12 states and Guam have asked HHS to exempt them from the requirement. The agency denied North Dakota's application because the market did not appear to be destabilized, Steve Larsen, director of the CMS' Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight, said in a conference call with reporters. “This should be viewed as a good thing for North Dakota and not a bad thing,” Gary Cohen, director of CCIIO's office of oversight, said on the call. “It means consumers are already seeing the benefits of the Affordable Care Act and the MLR provision.” HHS granted reprieves to Iowa and Kentucky, and previously did so for Maine, Nevada and New Hampshire. Applications for Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Guam, Indiana, Kansas and Louisiana are pending.
Regional News/Midwest: N.D. denied MLR exemption, and other news
MINNEAPOLIS—U.S. HealthWorks Medical Group, Valencia, Calif., has acquired NorthWorks Occupational Health centers, a trio of occupational-medicine centers in the Minneapolis area, according to a U.S. HealthWorks news release. The newly acquired facilities are U.S. HealthWorks' first in Minnesota; they bring the company's portfolio to 156 medical and worksite centers nationwide, according to the release. The Minnesota facilities offer diagnosis and treatment for injury and illness, preventive services, pre-employment and post-job-offer exams and screening and return-to-work rehabilitative care. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Founded in 1995, U.S. HealthWorks operates in 14 states and is affiliated with approximately 350 physicians, according to the release. The company specializes in early-return-to-work, injury-prevention and wellness programs.
NAPERVILLE, Ill.—Edward Hospital in Naperville is teaming up with a Michigan ambulance service to provide non-emergency transportation in the west and southwest suburbs of Chicago, Modern Healthcare sister publication Crain's Chicago Business reported. Under the joint venture between Southfield, Mich.-based Community Emergency Medical Service Corp. and the 320-bed hospital, 30 emergency medial technicians and paramedics will be hired and trained by Edward to run four new ambulances. The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. The service will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week beginning Sept. 1. The joint venture will be managed by Parastar, a Southfield-based emergency medical services management and consulting firm.
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